Officials in New Hampshire are looking into whether or not former President Donald Trump is constitutionally qualified to appear on the statewide presidential ballot in 2024.
Included in the Fourteenth Amendment is an oft-forgotten but of late extraordinarily relevant clause which states no one who swore an oath to the U.S. Constitution who then participates in or aids an insurrection against the government no longer qualifies for elected office.
The Granite State’s Attorney General and Secretary of State announced Tuesday they are looking into whether Trump fits the bill.
“The Secretary of State’s Office has requested the Attorney General’s Office to advise the Secretary of State regarding the meaning of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the provision’s potential applicability to the upcoming presidential election cycle. The Attorney General’s Office is now carefully reviewing the legal issues involved,” New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella and Secretary of State David Scanlan said in a joint statement.
After the events of January 6, 2021, when thousands of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to halt the certification of the election, some legal scholars were quick to point out that, according to the law, anyone who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the Constitution, or even “gives aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,” is disqualified from serving in government.
Former federal judge Michael Luttig and constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe recently wrote in an op-ed for the Atlantic stating that, in their legal opinion, it will eventually be up to the various Secretaries of State and courts to decide whether Trump’s actions — or inactions — on January 6th disqualify him from running.
“The former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the resulting attack on the U.S. Capitol, place him squarely within the ambit of the disqualification clause, and he is therefore ineligible to serve as president ever again,” they wrote.
The attorney general and Secretary of State in New Hampshire make clear that though they are looking into the matter, they do not have an opinion regarding Trump’s qualification under the Fourteenth.
“Neither the Secretary of State’s Office nor the Attorney General’s Office has taken any position regarding the potential applicability of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to the upcoming presidential election cycle,” they wrote.
It is too soon for Massachusetts to consider whether Donald Trump is eligible to be on the statewide ballot, according to spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office.
“At this point, with the constantly evolving situation, it would be premature for the Secretary to take a position on any candidate’s eligibility. I’m sure New Hampshire will be printing their ballots soon, but our ballots will not be finalized until mid-January,” the spokesperson said.