The Griffin-Cawthorn effect on Trump’s run for president Skip to content

The Griffin-Cawthorn effect on Trump’s run for president

The Griffin-Cawthorn Effect should disqualify Trump from running for president again. What is the Griffin-Cawthorn Effect? Read on to learn more.

3 min read
(photo by the AP)

Ex-president Donald Trump has announced his candidacy for the US presidency again after being twice impeached and after losing by 8 million votes in the 2020 election.

But here’s why that announcement should be the end, and not the beginning, of his candidacy: Donald Trump should be disqualified to run for president again, by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment:

“No person shall ... hold any office ... under the United States ... who, having previously taken an oath ... to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.”

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump took an oath of office to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Four years later, he incited an insurrection against the U.S. government and the American people.

But the 14th Amendment doesn’t just apply to presidents. Secretaries of state, state election boards, and state and federal courts should reject and disqualify any local, state, or federal office seekers from running for office who participated in an insurrection.

“Ballot disqualification for insurrection is not unprecedented. Courts have already ruled that January 6 insurrectionists can be barred from office,” writes Joel Rosenblatt of Bloomberg

“Judge Francis J. Mathew ruled that Couy Griffin was ineligible to continue to serve as Otero County Commissioner in New Mexico for his involvement on January 6, and barred for life from ever serving any office in the United States again. If Griffin is deemed ineligible, why shouldn’t the same standard be applied to Trump?”

The House Select Committee on January 6 has laid out these facts of the insurrection: (from Robert Reich in Inequality Media Civic Action)

  • Trump sought to intimidate state officials into reversing the election outcome.
  • He then recruited the violent mob to the Capitol.
  • He encouraged and incited them to act against the government despite knowing the crowd was heavily armed.
  • He provided aid to those participating in the attack by choosing not to act and failing to call in the National Guard or any other law enforcement to assist the overwhelmed Capitol police despite repeated requests.

“Section 3 of the 14th Amendment clearly disqualifies Donald Trump from becoming President again, because he advocated an [armed] insurrection that disrupted the transition of presidential power mandated by the Constitution after having sworn to defend it,” surmises Reich.

Rosenblatt of Bloomberg News reports, “Candidates who take part in an insurrection may be barred from holding public office under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled, overturning a lower court judge’s decision. The US 4th Circuit Court of Appeals issued the ruling in a challenge to former North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn’s Trump-supported candidacy for the House of Representatives.”

It turns out that in North Carolina, a voter registered in the same district as a candidate can challenge that candidacy for not meeting the requirements to hold that office.

“Voters in Cawthorn’s district filed a challenge because he ‘encouraged the violent mob that disrupted the peaceful transition of power by invading the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021,’ according to the opinion. That encouragement constituted ‘insurrection’ and disqualified Representative Cawthorn for further service in Congress,” continues Rosenblatt.

The lower-court judge, Richard E. Myers II in Wilmington, North Carolina, appointed by Trump,  ruled that “the 1872 law designed to let Confederate insurrectionists run for Congress also applied to Cawthorn and any other official seeking federal office today.”

But on appeal, Circuit Judge Toby Heytens  framed the issue in Cawthorn’s case as whether legislation from 1872 lifted a “constitutional disqualification for all future rebels or insurrectionists, no matter their conduct.” The three-judge panel, which included  Julius N. Richardson (appointed by Trump) and James Wynn (appointed by Obama), agreed with that proposition, .

Notes Rosenblatt: “While the ruling was legally binding only in the states that make up the 4th Circuit — Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina — it should have influenced the outcome of legal challenges to multiple Republican House candidates tagged by critics for participating in events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Sadly, right wing Trumpers Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, both of Arizona, faced similar lawsuits seeking to block their re-elections. However, their court challenges were thrown out – probably because their partisan judges needed to take a course on how to read the law.

Donald Trump needs to be held accountable. The Griffin-Cawthorn Effect should apply to him as well. His illegitimate candidacy should be thrown out, and he should be charged for his crimes, just like any other citizen.

Justice delayed is justice denied. The American people and our Republic deserve justice now!


Written by John James Alexander, a pseudonym for a long-time Kentucky educator.

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