The Oregon Supreme Court has taken a stand for legal propriety. On Friday the court declined to hear the case aimed at barring former President Donald Trump from appearing on Oregon’s primary and general election ballots, deferring instead to the U.S. Supreme Court’s forthcoming ruling on a similar matter.
The move comes amidst a nationwide campaign by Democrat groups to challenge Trump’s eligibility for office under the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who has “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.
“A decision by the United States Supreme Court regarding the Fourteenth Amendment issue may resolve one or more contentions that relators make in this proceeding,” the statement read.
“Given that possibility, we deny relators’ petition for a writ of mandamus at this time, without prejudice to relators’ ability to file a new petition seeking resolution of any issue that may remain following a decision by the United States Supreme Court.”
The case in Oregon, led by Free Speech for People, a national advocacy group, sought to compel Oregon’s Secretary of State to enforce the 14th Amendment’s provisions.
However, state attorneys maintained that the authority to judge presidential candidates’ qualifications does not lie at the state level. This position aligned with the principle that the interpretation of constitutional eligibility for presidential candidates is a matter of federal concern.
The Oregon Supreme Court’s decision not to preemptively rule on this issue respects the ongoing litigation at the U.S. Supreme Court, which is set to hear arguments in a similar case from Colorado on February 8.
This approach avoids potential conflicts between state and federal rulings and ensures that any decision made is grounded in a comprehensive understanding of the constitutional issues at stake. Trump’s legal team has consistently denied any engagement in insurrection, arguing that state courts lack the authority to decide presidential qualifications.
Free Speech For People, a left wing advocacy organization, initiated the legal action towards the end of the previous year, targeting the Oregon Supreme Court directly. “The Oregon Supreme Court’s decision not to decide is disappointing,” the organization said in a Friday statement.
“Waiting until the U.S. Supreme Court issues its order only compresses the time that the Oregon Supreme Court may have to resolve the issues that may remain.”
Steven Cheung, spokesperson for the Trump campaign, commended the verdict. “Today’s decision in Oregon was the correct one,” he commented in a statement. “President Trump urges the swift dismissal of all remaining, bad-faith, election interference 14th Amendment ballot challenges.”
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is known as the “Disqualification Clause.” It specifically deals with the issue of individuals who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States government.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, 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. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
In essence, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies individuals from holding various offices, including federal and state offices, if they have previously taken an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and have later engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or provided aid and comfort to its enemies. However, it also provides a mechanism for Congress to remove this disability through a two-thirds vote in each House.
The relevance of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment only came into focus after the January 6, 2021 breach on the U.S. Capitol.