Ron Johnson didn’t see an ‘armed insurrection’ because who could have foreseen that Trump would threaten violence. In August 2016, Trump called for “second amendment solutions” if Hillary Clinton was elected.
Now is the time for 14th Amendment solutions.
If Congress lacked accountability mechanisms other than impeachment or censure, it’d be one thing. But it’s not wanting for options.
One of them is enforcement of Section Three of the 14th Amendment, which states that no state or federal office holder “who, having previously taken an oath … 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.”
In other words: No second chance to place your hand on the Bible and repeat after the judge if you were an insurrectionist the first go-round. This novel idea was floated by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Tim Kaine, D-Va. It merits widespread consideration now, given how it meshes with the emerging Republican position on Trump’s culpability for Jan. 6 and Congress’ capability for responding to it.
The idea moots three Republican concerns: procedural, constitutional and political.
First, is there a procedural problem? No. Forty-four Senate Republicans voted that Trump’s most recent impeachment trial was unconstitutional, but a Section Three vote is entirely different. There is no constitutional roadblock to taking up congressional enforcement of a constitutional provision itself.
Second, is the idea constitutionally unassailable? Yes. Section Three, about aiding an insurrection, relates to a judgment of Congress, not a criminal court. The House and Senate could pass a resolution that states the facts about Trump’s conduct leading up to and on Jan. 6, for example, and concludes that Section Three disqualifies him from holding office in the future.
Trump is not a cable package
And finally, is this politically feasible? It is. Congress already voted on language to bar Trump from future office. Such a section was included in the House’s impeachment article.
“We have contained (COVID). I won’t say [it’s] airtight, but it’s pretty close to airtight.”