The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge from an obscure Republican presidential candidate on Monday who attempted to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the 2024 election.
Efforts to remove Trump from the upcoming presidential election have ramped up nationwide after critics argued the leading Republican contender is constitutionally disqualified from serving as commander-in-chief after he allegedly “engaged in an insurrection” against the United States on January 6, 2021.
One such attempt came from John Anthony Castro, a tax consultant from Texas seeking the Republican presidential nomination, who filed lawsuits against Trump in multiple states to eliminate him from the race, leaning on a post-Civil War provision of the 14th Amendment. The provision says any U.S. official who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution is barred from holding office ever again if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or have “given aid or comfort” to insurrectionists.
“The framers of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment specifically designed it to remove overwhelming popular pro-insurrectionists from the ballot,” Castro told the justices in court filings. “As such, Castro is not simply within the ‘zone’ of interests; Castro is the precise type of person that the framers of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment specifically sought to politically protect while Trump is the precise type of person they sought to disqualify.”
But the nation’s highest court rejected Castro’s appeal of a lower court’s finding that he lacked the constitutional standing to sue Trump over his alleged role in the U.S. Capitol breach.
The justices denied the case without any comment or recorded vote on Oct. 2, which marks the first day of a new nine-month term.
President Trump has not publicly commented on Castro’s lawsuit.
Castro’s petition comes amid several other efforts from left-wing activist groups attempting to use the 14th Amendment to block Trump from appearing on state ballots. But despite the opposition from lawmakers, activists, and Trump detractors, others warn against using the clause against the former president.
Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said the notion puts the Constitution in “grave danger.”
“It would put the decision about who the President is in the hands of local Secretaries of State and Democratic governors, instead of in the hands of the people,” Dershowitz told Just the News in August.
Dershowitz also pointed out in an opinion article last summer that Trump cannot be disqualified under the 14th Amendment’s provision because “the amendment provides no mechanism for determining whether a candidate falls within this disqualification, though it says that ‘Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each house, remove such disability.'”
“A fair reading of the text and history of the 14th Amendment makes it relatively clear, however, that the disability provision was intended to apply to those who served the Confederacy during the Civil War,” he wrote. “It wasn’t intended as a general provision empowering one party to disqualify the leading candidate of the other party in any future elections.”
After the former president announced his 2024 presidential election bid, Trump’s campaign team anticipated a wave of legal challenges would storm Trump’s effort to reclaim the White House. Trump has called the constitutional argument “election interference” and “just another ‘trick’ being used by the Radical Left Communists, Marxists, and Fascists, to again steal an Election.”
Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump, has repeatedly criticized the legal challenges, saying, “There is no legal basis for this effort except in the minds of those who are pushing it.”
“The people who are pursuing this absurd conspiracy theory and political attack on President Trump are stretching the law beyond recognition, much like the political prosecutors in New York, Georgia and D.C.,” Cheung said.