“Disqualifying Trump may be legally sound but fraught for democracy, scholars say”

Washington Post:

After warning for years that Donald Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy, two constitutional scholars proposed a possible solution over the summer to keep him from regaining power: Trump, they argued, could be banned from holding office under an obscure provision of the 14th Amendment. . . .

The push by former U.S. Court of Appeals judge J. Michael Luttig, a conservative, and Harvard professor Laurence H. Tribe, a liberal, was considered a long shot. But on Tuesday, it was unexpectedly validated by the Colorado Supreme Court, which ruled that Trump was ineligible for the state’s primary ballot because he had engaged in an insurrection. . . .

Many constitutional scholars say the Colorado decision may be legally sound, but to apply it would be fraught politically, especially in a country so deeply divided and mistrustful of democratic institutions.

“I believe in democracy,” said University of Chicago law professor Tom Ginsburg, “and I don’t think there’s a substitute for letting the people vote.” . . .

Given the unprecedented nature of Trump’s actions to subvert the 2020 election, the Colorado decision underscores “a uniquely uncomfortable moment for American democracy,” said Richard L. Hasen, a UCLA law professor.

But that moment could become even more uncomfortable if the Supreme Court delays weighing in on Trump’s qualification to appear on the ballot. With the Colorado primary coming up on March 5 and Iowa voters set to set to kick off the nominating process with a caucus on Jan. 15, Hasen said the court must resolve the issue sooner than later.

“Republican primary voters need to know what candidates are eligible,” he said. “A speedy resolution is important for democracy.”

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