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Couy Griffin has been removed from his position and is barred from ever holding a state or federal elected position again. Does this mean that Trump can be barred from holding any elected position?

Yes, this would probably be an uphill battle and I do understand that a state elected official is not quite the same as the position of president. However, they are both elected positions.

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Yes he can. Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution states:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Trump meets the first requirement. He had "previously taken an oath, ... as an officer of the United States ... to support the Constitution"

So if a court found that he had "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the [Constitution of the United States]" he would be disqualified from being "a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State"

Your question can therefore be considered equal to "Can Trump be sent to prison for murder?" The answer is yes, he can, if a court decides he has committed a murder. Likewise "Can Trump be disqualified?" Yes he can, if a court decides he meets the conditions for disqualification. And that makes this a rather boring answer.

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    There is an interesting legal argument that no court needs to be involved in the first instance. According to the argument, by "engag[ing] in insurrection or rebellion," a person who has "previously taken an oath[...]" becomes automatically and immediately ineligible, and can be excluded from the ballot by state election officials. Under that theory, a court becomes involved only if the candidate then sues the state election officials to be included, at which point the state would argue that the candidate had been disqualified by the XIV amendment and the candidate that they had not. Sep 7, 2022 at 14:23
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    Can you please provide a source for your quote in the second paragraph of this answer? I.e., where is it stated that a court finding engagement in insurrection or rebellion disqualifies someone from being an elector? Sep 8, 2022 at 14:30
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    @DaddyKropotkin Are you looking for a case where this actually occurred, or a case where the issue just went before a judge? Section 3 of the 14th amendment explicitly disallows "[an] elector of President and Vice-President ...[who] have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same...". How that would translate into administrative hearings likely varies state to state. But Section 3 was the basis of the challenge for Marjorie Taylor Greene to appear on the ballot in Georgia, which did go in front of an administrative judge.
    – Chuu
    Sep 8, 2022 at 15:48
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    @DaddyKropotkin The source for the quote in the second paragraph is the U.S. Constitution, specifically Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
    – reirab
    Sep 8, 2022 at 16:47
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    @DaddyKropotkin: At least one specific individual has been disqualified under section 3 of the 14th Amendment as a result of the events of January 6.
    – Kevin
    Sep 8, 2022 at 18:26
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Offices - such as President of the United States or member of Congress - which have their requirements explicitly spelled out in the U.S. Constitution cannot have any further requirements imposed upon their eligibility beyond those listed explicitly in the Constitution.

So, the answer to this question comes down to how one is proposing to ban someone from running for President. Only methods explicitly spelled out in the Constitution can be used to do this. There are two such methods:

Impeachment and Conviction

If the President is impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives and also convicted by the Senate (which requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate,) the Senate can (and usually does, but is not required to) impose the disability of inability to run for public office under the United States. It's still something of an open question as to the validity of an impeachment and conviction after someone has already left office, though.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment

In the aftermath of the American Civil War, the 14th Amendment was ratified, which included this provision in Section 3:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

So, if a court found that someone "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against [the United States], or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof" then they could be disqualified from holding public office in the United States. This is indeed the provision under which Couy Griffin was barred. That finding is very recent, though, so whether it will survive appeal remains to be seen.

Conviction of any other crime is not sufficient

There have been several suggestions floating around that conviction of certain types of crimes could be sufficient to ban someone from running for public office. This can indeed apply to some public offices but not to Constitutional Offices because these provisions are part of laws passed by Congress (or a state, as the case may be,) not part of the Constitution itself. One could be banned from running for city council for violating a state law that provided such a punishment for example, but one cannot be banned from running for President of the United States, member of Congress, etc. for such a violation. Of course, even to bar someone from state or local office, as with any state law, the state law in question would have to not violate the U.S. or state constitution or U.S. federal law.

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    I can't help but notice that it takes 3/2rd of both houses to impeach a president while at the same time it takes a 2/3rd vote by both houses to undo a legal verdict of disqualification. Surely, impeachment is not quite the same thing though. Sep 8, 2022 at 8:22
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    @JoeyJoystick: It takes 51% of the House of Reps to impeach but it takes 2/3rds of the Senate to convict. Upon conviction it takes 51% to bar from eligibility for office.
    – hszmv
    Sep 8, 2022 at 13:28
  • The 14th amendment doesn't say anything about a court. In fact it gives no enforcement power to anyone, it just states something that shall not happen. Perhaps the Federal Election Commission could (in theory) decide that Trump is not eligible to be a presidential candidate.
    – nasch
    Sep 8, 2022 at 15:22
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    @nasch The 14th Amendment doesn't itself say anything about a court, but Article III definitely does. The federal courts explicitly have judicial power over "all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution." While the FEC could theoretically make a determination that someone isn't eligible, for a case like this, that determination would surely be immediately challenged in court, so the question would ultimately be up to the courts either way.
    – reirab
    Sep 8, 2022 at 15:52
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    @nasch In the Couy Griffin case mentioned in the question, it was a group of private citizens who filed suit. A federal judge has ruled in their favor, though it remains to be seen whether appellate courts will uphold either their standing or the ruling.
    – reirab
    Sep 8, 2022 at 21:57
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Yes. Furthermore, in contrast with the other answers here, some legal scholars are of the opinion that states can individually decide to exclude from their ballots any candidate which that state's election officials believe have committed an insurrection after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution.

This authority would derive from three cases. First, Hassan v. Colorado (495 F. App'x 947 (10th Cir. 2012)), a 10th-Circuit ruling that affirms that state election officials have the authority to enforce eligibility requirements within their state and exclude from ballots any person whom they determine to be ineligible. The cases United States v. Powell (27 F. Cas. 605, 65 N. C. 709 (1871)) from the District of North Carolina and Worthy v. Barrett (63 N.C. 199 (N.C. 1869)) from the Supreme Court of North Carolina both affirm that persons who committed an insurrection were barred from office despite not having been convicted of the same.

However, as none of these rulings have been challenged in SCOTUS, it is not certain that such an exclusion would prevail. If such an exclusion were made, the proper remedy would be for the excluded candidate to file suit if they believe they have been improperly excluded.

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  • It's true enough that a state election official (or possibly the FEC, etc.) could determine that someone is ineligible to run for the office of President under the limitations that are explicitly placed on that office in the Constitution itself, however, as this answer itself demonstrates, it would ultimately be up to federal courts to determine whether or not that decision was accurate and enforceable. In the particular case asked about in the question, such a determination would surely be challenged in federal court immediately, so the federal courts would ultimately make the decision.
    – reirab
    Sep 8, 2022 at 16:24
  • @reirab Absolutely, but since that would be a civil case, it would be decided on the balance of evidence standard, far short of what would be required to secure a conviction. Sep 8, 2022 at 18:43
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    True, but, that matters more for deciding questions of fact. This would probably turn more on questions of law (especially what constitutes "insurrection or rebellion against the United States.")
    – reirab
    Sep 8, 2022 at 19:56
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It's theoretically an open question but it's worth noting that it probably depends on the elected office. Specifically, its untested whether the prohibition would extend to the vice presidency and presidency, which of course are the offices Trump is most likely to seek.

Griffin was disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which reads:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Notably missing from the offices explicitly listed is the presidency. Those seeking to disqualify Trump would likely point to "any office, civil and military, under the United States" and argue that includes the presidency. But Article 2, Section 4 says the following:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article 2, Section 3 also states:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

In both instances, there is a clear presumption that the president and "all officers" are two distinct categories. So even if we tend to think of the president as a civil or military office-holder, for the purpose of constitutional analysis, "officers" refers only to people appointed by the presidency.

So again, an open question, but there's a very strong case to be made that Trump could be barred from being a state senator or a judge or a governor. But my guess is you're really asking if he can be barred from the presidency, and it's likely courts would rule that no, he cannot, at the very least not without impeachment.

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  • As quoted in this answer, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says: "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office [...]". Per Article 2, Section 1: "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows: [...]". So, a President must be able to hold the office.
    – Nat
    Sep 9, 2022 at 18:53

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