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Kamis, 14 Januari 2021

Could Donald Trump be barred from future office? Here's how it could play out - ABC News

Donald Trump has been impeached again but, as we know from the first time around, that alone can't stop him from running for office.

And while a trial still has to play out in the Senate (where the Democrats would need 17 Republican votes to convict Trump), there's another avenue that could bar the President from future office.

It's a lesser known section of the constitution that's rarely used, but experts say it could be dusted off if the Senate doesn't convict again.

Let's unpack it.

What is it?

Technically, it's Section 3 of the 14th Amendment that could deliver a different path to disqualification.

It says no-one can hold office if they've engaged in "insurrection or rebellion" against the United States.

And if you've been paying close attention, you'll notice that's the same phrase used in the impeachment charge that was passed this week.

Nancy Pelosi, wearing a floral patterned mask, bangs a gavel on the desk in front of her
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi gavels in the final vote of the impeachment of President Donald Trump, for his role in inciting an angry mob to storm the Congress last week.(AP: J Scott Applewhite)

Mr Trump was accused of "incitement of insurrection" after his speech to followers just hours before some stormed the Capitol.

The US Constitution doesn't make clear how this section should be used.

But looking at congressional precedent, a simple majority of both chambers is needed to invoke this penalty.

We know this because it has been used before.

In 1919, Congress used the 14th Amendment to block an elected official, Victor Berger, from assuming his seat in the House because he had actively opposed US intervention in World War I.

Congress can later remove a disqualification, but only if two-thirds of both houses vote in favour of doing so.

Could it be used now?

It's possible, but some experts say unlikely.

Associate Professor in American Politics at the University of Sydney's United States Studies Centre, Brendon O'Connor, says impeachment is a far better approach for those looking to permanently oust Mr Trump.

And on the off-chance this approach was attempted, it wouldn't be any time soon.

"I really think the 14th amendment would be something that could only be deployed after he's been on trial [for impeachment]," he said.

And, he adds, how it would work is ambiguous.

Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University, says it would probably need a combination of legislation and litigation.

"The 14th Amendment route is very unclear as to what it would take to get it rolling," Mr Kalt says.

Another section in the 14th Amendment, Section 5, empowers Congress to enforce the entire amendment through "appropriate legislation."

Some scholars have interpreted this language to mean that a majority of both chambers of Congress could enact a law applying a ban to a particular president, like Mr Trump.

Associate Professor Aiden Warren, from RMIT's School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, says it's a waiting game.

Could an impeachment conviction bar him from office?

That's more likely.

The US Constitution provides two ways to punish an impeached official; remove them from office (which will come too late for Trump, who ends his term next week) or disqualify them from holding future positions.

Removing an official requires a two-thirds Senate majority under the Constitution.

Under precedent, only a simple majority is needed for disqualification. But historically, that vote only happens after a conviction.

So, if Trump isn't convicted, he wouldn't face the disqualification vote.

Impeachment isn't just for presidents though. Three federal officials have been disqualified through impeachment proceedings, all of them judges.

Most recently, in 2010, the Senate removed and disqualified from future office a Louisiana judge found to have engaged in corruption.

Mr Kalt says there is some debate over the scope of the disqualification clause, and whether it applies to the presidency.

All three judges who were disqualified from office were convicted first.

Would it matter to Trump anyway?

Without a formal ban, he could certainly try to run for President again.

Mr Warren says for Democrats, conviction is key, and there's "a lot at stake."

"The view is that Trump would beat [incoming Vice-President Kamala] Harris," he said.

"There's a real possibility of Trump being a formidable force in 2024."

But if he is disqualified from office could Ivanka or Donald Jr step up?

"If he somehow is not allowed to run in 2024, I think there will be a different Trump on the ballot," he said.

Mr O'Connor says while there's a lot of factors, and four years is a long time, "the only major prediction I'd make is Trump isn't going to go away quietly."

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https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMiXWh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvbmV3cy8yMDIxLTAxLTE1L2Nhbi1kb25hbGQtdHJ1bXAtYmUtYmFycmVkLWZyb20tZnV0dXJlLW9mZmljZS8xMzA1ODYzNNIBJ2h0dHBzOi8vYW1wLmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvYXJ0aWNsZS8xMzA1ODYzNA?oc=5

2021-01-14 18:45:00Z
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