Ramaswamy Condemns Push to Remove Trump From Ballot on 14th Amendment Grounds

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks out against using the 14th Amendment to disqualify former President Trump from election ballots in 2024.
Ramaswamy Condemns Push to Remove Trump From Ballot on 14th Amendment Grounds
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Aug. 12, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Nathan Worcester
Presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy condemned the push to remove former President Donald J. Trump from the ballot in various states on 14th Amendment grounds–one of many efforts that rest on the claim that he led an "insurrection or rebellion" against the Constitution on Jan. 6, 2021.

"Politicized groups are attempting to make Trump ineligible to run for president, arguing he fomented and, in fact, engaged in insurrection on January 6. This is a perversion of the 14th Amendment," Mr. Ramaswamy said in a statement released on Sept. 7.

A Sept. 6 petition from the liberal organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington aims to keep President Trump off the primary and general election ballots in Colorado. It comes just days after a Florida judge appointed by former President Barack Obama on Aug. 31 tossed out a similar lawsuit targeting Florida's presidential ballots.

In her dismissal of that case, Judge Robin L. Rosenberg wrote that "an individual citizen does not have standing to challenge whether another individual is qualified to hold public office."

Mr. Ramaswamy recommended that the judge assigned to the Colorado case "immediately toss it out," too.

John Anthony Castro, another 2024 Republican presidential hopeful, filed similar lawsuits against Mr. Trump in Maine and Nevada, stating on Twitter/X that he would drop them if the previous commander-in-chief would "agree to a one-on-one debate hosted by [Tucker Carlson]."

In New Hampshire, meanwhile, a Republican who once garnered the former president's endorsement in his unsuccessful Senate bid is spearheading a parallel attempt to keep Mr. Trump off the ballot in the crucial early primary state.

"I believe in the Constitution, and I think someone needs to step up to make sure that the Constitution is, in fact, enforced," said Bryant "Corky" Messner, who lost to incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in the 2020 election.

"Yesterday’s filing is just the latest in a string of baseless lawsuits designed to silence political opponents and swing the election for Joe Biden, this time by depriving Americans of the right to vote for their candidate of choice," Mr. Ramaswamy wrote in his response to the Colorado filing.

Mr. Ramaswamy rejected the notion that the language in the 14th Amendment, designed after the Civil War to prevent U.S. officials who defected to the Confederacy from becoming public officials under the postbellum regime, could be construed to bar those involved in the demonstrations on Jan. 6, 2021, let alone Mr. Trump.

"These men had clearly taken part in a rebellion against the United States: the Civil War. Participants in the events of January 6 did not. And Trump, of course, was not even among them," Mr. Ramaswamy wrote in his statement.

The Colorado petition claims that the former president led a mob that "violently storm[ed] and seize[d] the United States Capitol, a feat even the Confederacy never achieved during the Civil War."

Mr. Ramaswamy also argued that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment does not apply to President Trump, citing a 2010 Supreme Court Decision and Article II of the Constitution to point out that he was not and is not an "officer of the United States."

"The term does not apply to elected officials, and certainly not to the president himself. The Framers of the 14th Amendment would be shocked and appalled to see their narrow provision—intended to bar former U.S officials who switched to the Confederacy from seeking public office—being weaponized by a sitting president and his political allies to prevent a former president from seeking reelection," Mr. Ramaswamy wrote.

Former Vice President Mike Pence also questioned the appropriateness of litigation that aims to disqualify President Trump from various ballots using the 14th Amendment.

"I always think these questions should be left to voters," he said on Sept. 5, as reported by Fox News.

Mr. Pence has repeatedly said that his own actions on Jan. 6, 2021, fulfilled his duty to the Constitution.

"I truly believe, I truly do believe, people deserve to know that the former president asked me to choose him over my oath to the Constitution. I chose the Constitution," Mr. Pence told an Iowa crowd in August.

"Not only do I expect him to be on the ballot, but I hope he's on the debate stage really soon," Mr. Pence said in his Sept. 5 comments to Fox News Digital.

The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination is not expected to appear at the second debate, which will occur later this month at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

In an August CNN interview, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that "a number of legal scholars said that he [Mr. Trump] is disqualified because of his actions on January 6," citing the 14th Amendment.

Northwestern University law professor Steve Calabresi, writing for The Volokh Conspiracy, argued that President Trump is disqualified under the 14th Amendment. He suggested that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should take action against the former president.

"Chris Christie is legally injured by Donald Trump's name being on the ballot. They draw from some similar voters. Christie should sue, if necessary, to get Trump's name off the ballot," Mr. Calabresi wrote.

Other legal experts take a different view.

In an article published early last year, the Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky argued that the efforts to disqualify President Trump are unconstitutional. He pointed out that multiple amnesty bills eliminated disqualifications based on the 14th Amendment's Section 3.
Mr. Pence, Mr. Hutchinson, and Mr. Christie are all polling well behind President Trump for the 2024 slot, and below many of his rivals, including Mr. Ramaswamy, according to the latest averages from Real Clear Politics.
Radio host Larry Elder, a Republican presidential hopeful whose poll numbers don't place him at the front of the pack, wrote on Twitter/X in July that the 14th Amendment-based disqualification of President Trump would be "Democrats’ end game" to keep the former president from returning to the Oval Office.
Nathan Worcester covers national politics for The Epoch Times and has also focused on energy and the environment. Nathan has written about everything from fusion energy and ESG to Biden's classified documents and international conservative politics. He lives and works in Chicago. Nathan can be reached at [email protected].