• Liz Cheney and Her 14th Amendment Comedy Show

    February 5, 2022

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Post-Constitution America, Trump


    The Democrats’ newest champion (Michael Avenatti did not return calls) Rep. Liz Cheney just about said the quiet part out loud: her January 6 Committee has the singular goal of pre-defeating Trump ahead of any voting in 2024. As it becomes clearer the Committee is failing in its propaganda campaign to get Republican Party powerbrokers to dump Trump, and as it is near crystalline the Committee will not find evidence leading to formal prosecution of Trump for sedition, treason, or insurrection, they are getting desperate. The latest? Purposefully misinterpreting an obscure phrase from a post-Civil War Constitutional amendment.

    Cheney said “I think one of the really important things that our committee has to do is lay these facts out for the American people, so that they inform us in terms of our legislative activity going forward.” Cheney is talking about one phrase from the 14th Amendment, no doubt presented to her by an intern applying a Control + F search for “insurrection” to an online text of the Constitution. This is a familiar strategy for the Democrats, having purposefully taken phrases out of context from the 25th Amendment and the Emoluments Clause trying to force Trump from office for four years.

    While the 14th Amendment was written primarily to grant citizenship and rights to freed slaves, it also created the “equal protection clause” which cornerstoned landmark cases including Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and Bush v. Gore. But tucked away in Section 3 was a bit of post-civil war housekeeping, the phrase “No person shall hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” The 14th also provides for Congress to enforce the provisions via legislation, and Cheney thinks that’s the key to Democratic success. Seriously.

    The intent in 1868 was to prevent Confederate leaders from returning to power. But the January 6 Committee is in 2022 so lacking in substantive content that they are considering some sort of legislation labeling Trump an insurrectionist, and thus prohibiting him from taking office again, even if he were to win the election. Cheney is not alone; Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin has also called the use of the 14th a “live proposition.”

    Section 3 does not have a particularly glorious history. Reconstruction Era prosecutors brought civil actions in court to oust officials linked to the confederacy, and Congress in some cases took action to refuse to seat Members. Section 3 was last used in 1919 against a socialist congressman accused of having given aid and comfort to Germany during WWI. The congressman was eventually seated after the Supreme Court threw out his espionage conviction. Currently the only criminal punishment left on the books dates to 1870 and makes it a misdemeanor to run for office when ineligible to do so under Section 3. So while the Constitution does specifically refer to legislative action by Congress as a way to enforce Section 3, precedent clearly shows due process and litigation would step in. Imagine Cheney or anyone trying to label someone who controls the loyalty of roughly 50 percent of Americans an insurrectionist through a show of hands.

    Such legislation would also have to pass both houses and be signed by the president, something beyond a non-starter. The question of whether Section 3 is actually an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder is also not fully resolved. A Bill of Attainder in simple terms is a piece of law designed solely to punish one person, an argument the Democrats of 1868 themselves used to try and prevent Section 3 from even becoming part of the Constitution. The question was left largely unsettled as old Confederates died off and the use of Section 3 effectively ended in 1919 except in the fevered brains of people like Cheney.

    There is also the open question of whether use of Section 3 against Trump would represent an unconstitutional ex post facto law. The drafters of Section 3 were clear their intent was precautionary, looking not to punish Confederates for the past but to prevent them from taking power again in the future. It was not a measure of punishment, but a measure of self-defense, and the bar was set very high: participating in actual warfare against the United States that took the lives of millions in pursuit of breaking up the Union. In Trump’s case, given that his offense would be being voted an insurrectionist over a year after making a speech to keep him from the White House, it would be very hard not to see it as punishment.

    More problems? Section 3 prohibits someone from taking office, not from running for election. Imagine Trump conducting a three year campaign, winning the race, and then being prohibited from taking office over a clever interpretation of some words from 1868 clearly meant for a wholly different purpose.

    The use of the 14th Amendment to end Trump is the kind of thing non-experts with too much Google time can convince themselves is true. Given that there is no realistic possibility of preventing Trump from taking office in 2024 under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, what is this all about? Most superficially it is a chance for a trog like Liz Cheney to get on TV spouting some quasi-legalistic garbage. It will be diluted through CNN as “Trump’s election is barred by the Constitution” and “Trump is in violation of democracy” and repurposed into Lincoln Project Facebook memes.

    But more substantively, silliness like Cheney’s is a sign of increasing desperation by the Democrats, three full years before the election. Increasingly sure they will lose at the ballot box, the Dems strategy is to prevent Trump from ever reaching the ballot box. Failing to be able to prosecute him, they have only left to persecute him, across tax courts in New York, the January 6 Committee, endless manhunts for Capitol trespassers, and the like. For a party that cries continuously that democracy is in danger, the Democrats act increasingly like thugs in a banana republic trying to bring down their opponents extra-electorally.

    Political prosecutions are not new in America. Political pogroms are. It is sad to watch the Democratic Party embrace such third-world practices as policy.


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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Liz better be careful. Trump is the best thing that ever happened to the Dems.

      02/6/22 10:53 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Give the Democrats a few more years and they could lose most of their regular members. Would that mean an Independent might possibly have a chance to win the POTUS? Just asking.

      02/7/22 12:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      You know Trump has jumped the shark when even the Wall Street Journal points out the obvious. The Journal warned the GOP about the cost of sticking to Trump no matter what, given his less-than-stellar track record at the ballot box: The conventional wisdom now is that Mr. Trump controls the Republican Party and can have the 2024 nomination if he wants it. But someone should remind voters that Mr. Trump ended as a three-time election loser. He mobilized Democrats against him in historic numbers to cost the GOP the House in 2018, then the White House in 2020 and finally the two Georgia Senate seats in 2021.

      Of course voting fraud is the only way he can win. Trump likes to shred official documents. His dream is to shred votes.

      02/7/22 1:25 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      More burning questions: can Trump be charged with dereliction of duty joyfully watching his morons attack the Capitol if Hillary was accused of not doing her duty in the Benghazi attack? The Repugs should get burned for their hypocrisy.

      Speaking of getting burned:

      Hyundai and Kia are telling owners of almost 500,000 cars and SUVs in the United States to park outside and away from buildings due to a possible defect that can cause the vehicles to spontaneously catch fire even when not running.

      02/8/22 2:48 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      If the Repugs can justify their goons attacking police as “legitimate political discourse”, why can’t the Saudi headhunters justify their actions to terminate political opposition as legitimate?

      02/9/22 9:53 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Bauer: Sounds like a batch of internal combustion engines became external combustion engines. The trans phenomenon is everywhere!

      02/9/22 10:01 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Bauer: Evidently certain phone records to and from the White House during the Jan 6th “event” are missing. If so PVB is in big pundit credibility land with his ascertainment that Jan 6th wasn’t a serious insurrection engendered by Donald Trump. Maybe Trump is innocent and the usual dire incriminations are due to the usual partisan politics.

      02/10/22 7:22 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...



      Don’t understand the big concern about Trump flushing his official papers down the toilet. That is where one disposes of crap. The bigger concern is Trump used his personal, unsecured phone to conduct official business. The NSA has a transcript of them no doubt. Granted he didn’t use his personal email to discuss classified business, no doubt aware he could be sharing a cell with Hillary. Expect there are audio tapes of his Jan 6 activities, cheering on the patriots in their legitimate political discourse. Perhaps that is motivating Moscow Mitch and the rest of the rats deserting the Trump Titanic.

      The Dems don’t have a monopoly on third-world dickhead dictator practices.

      02/10/22 11:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Peter Van Buren had his federal security clearance revoked for the heinous crime of a hyperlink to Wikileaks page on his blog.

      A former civilian employee of the Defense Department was sentenced Thursday to three months in prison after admitting to taking materials containing classified information to her hotel room and to her personal residence.

      The ex-employee’s sentencing coincidentally came the same week of revelations that the National Archives had raised concerns about government documents found at the Florida residence of former President Donald Trump in recent months. The Archives asked the Justice Department to investigate the matter, prompting questions of whether the handling of classified information and government documents could lead to a criminal probe.

      If you are going to commit a crime, make it a really big one.

      02/12/22 5:58 PM | Comment Link

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