“How Democrats Could Disqualify Trump If the Supreme Court Doesn’t”

The Atlantic:

Murray and other legal scholars say that, absent clear guidance from the Supreme Court, a Trump win could lead to a constitutional crisis in Congress. Democrats would have to choose between confirming a winner many of them believe is ineligible and defying the will of voters who elected him. Their choice could be decisive: As their victory in a House special election in New York last week demonstrated, Democrats have a serious chance of winning a majority in Congress in November, even if Trump recaptures the presidency on the same day. If that happens, they could have the votes to prevent him from taking office.

In interviews, senior House Democrats would not commit to certifying a Trump win, saying they would do so only if the Supreme Court affirms his eligibility. But during oral arguments, liberal and conservative justices alike seemed inclined to dodge the question of his eligibility altogether and throw the decision to Congress.

“That would be a colossal disaster,” Representative Adam Schiff of California told me. “We already had one horrendous January 6. We don’t need another.”…

The choice that Democrats would face if Trump won without a definitive ruling on his eligibility was almost too fraught for Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland to contemplate. He told me he didn’t know how he’d vote in that scenario. As we spoke about what might happen, he recalled the brutality of January 6. “There was blood all over the Capitol in the hypothetical you posit,” Raskin, who served on the January 6 committee with Schiff, told me….

In an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, a trio of legal scholars—Edward Foley, Benjamin Ginsberg, and Richard Hasen—warned the justices that if they did not rule on Trump’s eligibility, “it is a certainty” that members of Congress would seek to disqualify him on January 6, 2025. I asked Lofgren whether she would be one of those lawmakers. “I might be.”

The scholars also warned that serious political instability and violence could ensue. That possibility was on Raskin’s mind, too. He conceded that the threat of violence could influence what Democrats do if Trump wins. But, Raskin added, it wouldn’t necessarily stop them from trying to disqualify him. “We might just decide that’s something we need to prepare for.”

Share this: