This Washington Post story features Prof. Doug Spencer, an election law expert, in both his personal and professional identities:
Professor Douglas Spencer began his Thursday afternoon class at the University of Colorado Law School by reading a text message he had just received from his 13-year-old daughter.
Only a few hours earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court had heard oral arguments in the case that will decide whether Donald Trump is eligible to appear on the Colorado ballot in November. One of the critical legal questions is whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment bars someone who previously took an oath to support the Constitution as “an officer of the United States” from returning to office if they engaged in insurrection.
The message from Spencer’s daughter asked whether he thought Trump had been an officer or a holder of office. Yes, he texted back. “That’s what I thought,” she replied. “I don’t understand law that much, but even I was like, bruh.”
His 70 students — five rows of them sitting shoulder to shoulder — burst out laughing. It was a rare moment of levity for a discussion of complexity and immense import.
Until this year, Spencer had never taught Section 3. But it is now a centerpiece of his election law syllabus as the high court weighs the case that will shape the race for president, either by allowing Trump to remain on state ballots or by derailing his candidacy months before the vote.
In a divided nation, the profound implications of the justices’ pending ruling have sparked debate and qualms among election scholars,legal experts, activists and students of all political shades. But nowhere may the tensions be deeper than in blue states and jurisdictions that have firmly rejected Trump in past votes but now wrestle with whether democracy is better served by punishing him for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results or letting voters decide his fate this fall.