“Why are U.S. courts afraid of the 14th Amendment? Because it’s radical.”

Sherrilyn Ifill for WaPo oped:

The 14th Amendment is treated as a suggestion but rarely imposed in full measure when the status quo will be upended. This was perhaps most famously on display in 1955, in the case of Brown II, when the Supreme Court undercut its majestic decision of a year earlier in Brown v. Board of Education,by hedgingon the immediate end to segregated schools and counseling instead that local officials should move with “all deliberate speed.”

The Colorado court’s approach to Section 3 continues this tradition. To find that a president incited a violent insurrection against the United States but hold that such a president can still run for public office — indeed to return to the presidency itself — could not stand in starker opposition to the words and spirit of Section 3.

The 14th Amendment has once again proved too bold for the judges empowered to interpret it. Political forces are at play again, this time fearful of a backlash if Trump is removed from the ballot. As this case makes its way through the appellate process and, most likely, to the Supreme Court, it should be understood in the context of how the timidity and unwillingness of judges to acquiesce to the judgment of the 14th Amendment’s framers effectively derailed our democracy’s promise after Reconstruction and until the mid-20th century. We must ensure that it does not do the same in the 21st.

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