Nine California lawmakers sent a letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta requesting that his office seek an official court opinion as to whether Donald Trump’s current 2024 presidential run is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment, which prevents those who have committed “insurrection or rebellion” against the US while in office from seeking office again.
The letter suggests that Trump’s actions before, during and after the January 6th insurrection may disqualify him from the Republican presidential primary. The letter states:
Mr. Trump swore to uphold the United States Constitution when he affirmed his oath of office upon being elected the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Multiple courts have already declared January 6, 2021’s events as an insurrection against the United States of America. Section three of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States is clear: no person who has taken an oath of office and engaged in insurrection against the United States shall hold any public office in the United States.
The letter also cited Bonta’s unique positioning as Attorney General, implying Bonta should seek a declaratory judgment as Attorney General, as he is entitled to automatic standing under California Civil Code.
Bonta’s office responded to the letter, stating:
We are aware of the letter and will review the request internally. There is no denying that Donald Trump has engaged in behavior that is unacceptable and unbecoming of any leader — let alone a president of the United States. Beyond that, we have no additional comment.
The campaign to remove Trump from California’s 2024 ballot under the Fourteenth Amendment is one among many similar campaigns across the country. In August, two prominent legal scholars who are members of the conservative judicial group the Federalist Society, William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, suggested that Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment clearly bars Trump from running for reelection. The theory was then cited by Judge J. Michael Luttig and law professor Laurence H. Tribe, who suggested that the theory is legally supported, but the circumstances surrounding it are historically unprecedented. Then, in early September, a group of Colorado voters filed suit to remove Trump from the primary ballot under the Fourteenth amendment.
Currently, Trump has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to defraud the US government, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against US voters’ civil rights. A Georgia state grand jury also indicted Trump on 13 criminal charges relating to interference in that state’s 2020 election.