A group of California lawmakers are exploring a new method of potentially removing Donald Trump from the state’s ballot over the former president’s alleged 14th Amendment violations.
The nine lawmakers ― eight members of the state Assembly and one member of the state Senate ― signed a letter Monday asking the state’s Attorney General Rob Bonta to pursue a judiciary ruling on the matter, saying he’s “uniquely positioned to proactively seek the court’s opinion to confirm Mr. Trump’s inability to hold office.”
The idea behind the effort, a version of which is underway in a handful of other states, is that Trump’s actions after losing the 2020 election violate a section of the 14th amendment barring a person from holding federal office if they took an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and then breached it by inciting insurrection or rebellion.
“We all watched in horror Mr. Trump’s insurrection against the United States when he ordered a mob of his supporters to the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 to intimidate Vice President [Mike] Pence and the United States Congress and interrupt the certification [of] the 2020 Presidential Election that Mr. Trump lost,” the letter states.
Trump’s role in the attack on the Capitol is the focus of one of four recent indictments against him. Despite his legal troubles, polls show him as the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.
The lawmakers hope that asking Bonta to spearhead the effort could speed things along.
“Whatever the courts decide it is important that they do so quickly to avoid further political strife, and the Attorney General is uniquely positioned to get the American people the answers we need to protect our Republic,” California Assemblyman Evan Low, who wrote the letter, said in a statement.
While efforts in other states to invoke the 14th Amendment against Trump have gone through secretaries of state and voter lawsuits, this could be the first time a state’s attorney general got behind such an endeavor.
As with other efforts to oust Trump from the ballot, this would be a difficult feat. Trump would most likely appeal any court’s decision against him, and the U.S. Supreme Court ― dominated by conservatives and three justices he nominated ― would most likely have the final say.