CNN Legal Analyst Calls Out Constitutional Experts Trying To Pin Trump Under 14th Amendment

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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CNN’s senior legal analyst Elie Honig called out so-called “constitutional experts” for claiming that former President Donald Trump can be knocked off the ballot so easily under the 14th Amendment.

A left-leaning group filed a lawsuit to have Trump removed from the ballot in Colorado arguing that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibiting certain government officials who took an oath to the Constitution and then “engaged in an insurrection” from holding office applies to Trump.

The trial begins Monday in Colorado District Court.

CNN’s John Avlon argued that while the statute hasn’t been enforced since the Civil War, “it absolutely should wind its way through the courts.”

“People who decide who have standing to serve on a ballot like a local elections official in Colorado absolutely have standing. And conservative jurists have looked at this, 120-page report saying ‘this absolutely applies, it is enforced, Trump is culpable under it.’ So it should not be dismissed because it seems politically difficult.”

“The reason I love John Avalon, is, the great thing about John Avalon is he tells us how things ought to be in an ideal world, which I always say, I agree, that would be lovely. I then come in and say, ‘But here’s why it’s not going to work that way,’ and here’s why it’s not going to work that way,” Honig said.

“The Constitution, yes, has that very important clause saying you’re disqualified if you participated or encouraged insurrection or rebellion. But neither the Constitution nor Congress in the 150-years since that amendment has been passed told us how this works. The problem is you can’t just make it up now and apply it backwards. These scholars say it’s ‘self-executing.’ What the heck does that mean? Someone has to execute it. Why do you think we’re in court in Colorado right now?” (RELATED: Top State Election Officials Say They Will Defer To The Courts On Removing Trump From 2024 Ballot)

“And here’s the problem, we don’t know what this state-level judge in Colorado is going to do. It’s possible that she, the judge, rules against Donald Trump. But if that happens, I promise you two things will follow. Number one, the political backlash will go in Trump’s favor–”

“Irrelevant,” Avlon interjected.

“Hold on,” Honig shot back.

“Utterly irrelevant,” Avlon said.

“If we end up in a situation where unelected state judge says, ‘I’m removing him from the ballot, millions of voters in Colorado, you’ll only have one name on the ballot, it’s Joe Biden, because I individually have found that Donald Trump committed insurrection.’ The other thing that’s going to happen is it’s going to get reversed on appeal. It’s possible this judge does rule against Trump, but then it’s going up the line in Colorado and eventually to the federal court. It’s not going to stand.”

Avlon then argued that Honig was making a “political argument.”

The aforementioned provision of the 14th Amendment was written after the Civil War after half the nation rebelled against the United States government, going on to literally create a separate government with its own foreign policy.