OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
In another blow to Democrat efforts to remove former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot, the New Hampshire Secretary of State has refused calls to disqualify the GOP frontrunner based upon a novel reading of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
According to The Associated Press, Secretary of State David Scanlan, New Hampshire’s top election official in the first Primary election state told a press conference Wednesday: “As long as he submits his declaration of candidacy and signs it under the penalties of perjury and pays the $1,000 filing fee, his name will appear on the presidential primary ballot.”
Scanlan cited the New Hampshire election law that stipulates any person who completes the set requirements of submitting a declaration that they meet the requirements of office, and paying a fee “shall be printed on the ballots.”
He added, “That language is not discretionary,” essentially taking the decision out of his hands.
Scanlan made the announcement following the assessment of State Attorney General John Formella who asserted that the 14th Amendment application championed by legal scholars such as Lawrence Tribe, J. Michael Luttig, and anti-Trump Republicans William Baude, and Michael Stokes Paulsen does not provide Scanlan the authority under New Hampshire law to block a candidate from the ballot.
Tribe and Luttig posited in an Op-Ed for The Atlantic, “The disqualification clause operates independently of any such criminal proceedings and, indeed, also independently of impeachment proceedings and of congressional legislation….The former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and the resulting attack on the U.S. Capitol, place him squarely within the ambit of the disqualification clause, and he is therefore ineligible to serve as president ever again.”
David Scanlan, the @NHSecretary, explains that he has no legal basis to disqualify a candidate from the #FITN presidential primary ballot under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution #NHPolitics #WMUR pic.twitter.com/ag9QfgZvwT
— Adam Sexton (@AdamSextonWMUR) September 13, 2023
The Trump campaign reportedly sent Formella a letter signed by dozens of New Hampshire GOP lawmakers urging him to reject the “absurd conspiracy theory.”
The campaign wrote: “There is no legal basis for these claims to hold up in any legitimate court of law. The opinions of those perpetuating this fraud against the will of the people are nothing more than a blatant attempt to affront democracy and disenfranchise all voters and the former President. These individuals who are seeking to deny voters access to support their candidate of choice are nothing more than political pawns of the Left doing their bidding, which is disappointing since the Democrat Party has continually tried to strip New Hampshire of its First-in-the-Nation status.”
Trump campaign blasts out letter from
NH state lawmakers urging SoS David Scanlan not to disqualify Trump under the 14th amendment pic.twitter.com/BcR5nK8kyE
— Sam Levine (@srl) September 12, 2023
In a Sep. 4th post to Truth Social, former President Trump wrote: “Almost all legal scholars have voiced opinions that the 14th Amendment has no legal basis or standing relative to the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election. Like Election Interference, it is just another “trick” being used by the Radical Left Communists, Marxists, and Fascists, to again steal an Election that their candidate, the WORST, MOST INCOMPETENT, & MOST CORRUPT President in U.S. history, is incapable of winning in a Free and Fair Election. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
As noted by the AP, this is the second direct blow to the 14th Amendment push that has seen most Secretaries of State balk at the notion of striking Trump or any other candidate from the ballot unilaterally. AP reported, “Minnesota Secretary of State Scott Simon, a Democrat, said in a statement last week that his office can’t take such action on its own and could only do so if compelled by courts.”
Simon told reporters, “The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State does not have legal authority to investigate a candidate’s eligibility for office.”
The outlet reported that a wave of lawsuits began last week with a prominent leftist group suing to remove Trump from the Colorado ballot. The case was briefly removed to Federal Court before returning to the State Court and will likely find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.