Free Speech For People welcomes a new federal bill, introduced by Rep. David Cicilline, that could help enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, against Donald Trump in particular. Although enforcement of Section 3 does not require a bill such as this, the bill would nonetheless be helpful in enforcement proceedings. 

The bill includes extensive factual findings regarding the January 6, 2021 insurrection and Trump’s involvement in it, Congress’s legal conclusions (within the scope of its authority under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment) that the presidency is an “office under the United States” to which Section 3 applies, reiterates the conclusions of previous adjudicatory majorities of both the House and Senate finding that Trump committed incitement to insurrection, and states Congress’s conclusion that Trump is ineligible to hold any office under the United States, including the presidency.

While this bill is not necessary to enforce section 3–our litigation in North Carolina and Georgia in the spring of 2022 established that existing state candidate eligibility challenge processes are already a viable mechanism to challenge Donald Trump’s candidacy–it would be helpful.

Importantly, the bill provides that it “shall not supersede, foreclose, or impair any local, State, or Federal authority, cause of action, or legal process that can give effect to Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.” As part of Free Speech For People’s 14point3 campaign, we have announced that we will challenge Trump’s eligibility for office in multiple states, and are seeking to persuade Secretaries of State to exercise their well-established independent authority to reject ballot access for constitutionally ineligible candidates, such as Trump. Because of this savings clause, the bill, if passed, could not be used to interfere with or impair those efforts.

We urge Congress to pass this important legislation.