AZ Secretary of State weighs in on Trump’s presidential prospects in face of legal issues

Aug 30, 2023, 4:15 AM | Updated: Sep 1, 2023, 11:56 am

PHOENIX — Despite the multiple trials on his 2024 calendar, former President Donald Trump said he plans to be one of the 2024 Republican presidential candidates. However, a few words in the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment could make or break his presidential prospects, some legal authorities say.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show tackled the topic on Tuesday.

“There’s some legal folks that are talking about section three of the 14th amendment,” Larry Gaydos said. “It says, ‘Insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution could disqualify you from running.'”

Could the Fourteenth Amendment trip Trump in the presidential race?

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes joined the show to explain the legal conflict at play.

“Last year, the Arizona Supreme Court told us that the provisions of Section Three and Article 14 don’t matter,” Fontes said.

That’s because Section Three doesn’t indicate how legal authorities should enforce it, Fontes said.

“Given the Arizona Supreme Court’s logic, which is binding law today, anybody can run for president,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or whether or not you’re even a citizen.”

In other words, the Fourteenth Amendment may not be enough to disqualify Trump’s presidential run.

“Basically, it doesn’t matter that you were in an insurrection or any of that. You can still run,” Fontes said. “Given the Arizona Supreme Court’s logic, which is binding law today, anybody can run for president.”

Is Trump eligible to run for president in Arizona?

Make no mistake, though: The Constitution outweighs the Arizona Supreme Court, Fontes said. Thanks to the Supremacy Clause, federal law outranks what a state’s constitution says.

Fontes also said it’s important to note that Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment isn’t the only factor that could disqualify Trump.

“There are two other factors that are important here,” he said. “You have to have been an officer and have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution.”

Those are important presidential preconditions that must be met to be on the ballot, Fontes said.

Ultimately, though, Fontes isn’t sure if he will be the one to decide whether or not Trump is eligible to be on Arizona’s presidential ballot. However, the signs are pointing in that direction so far, he said.

Should you expect to see Trump on your 2024 presidential ballot?

Nothing is set in stone so far. Although Fontes plans to “get it right according to the law,” he expects a lawsuit no matter what he does.

Ultimately, though, he hopes to make a binding legal decision that will streamline future elections.

“This is a big deal for our 15 counties and the people who run our elections,” he said. “Here in Arizona, they deserve to have some certainty about what the work is.”

Fontes isn’t sure if he will be the one to ultimately decide whether or not Trump is eligible to run for office in Arizona.

“My big concern is, ‘Can we just figure this out fast?'” he said. “There’s going to be a legal fight brewing. Somebody needs to throw a punch and get this thing started so that we can get the courts to act.”

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AZ Secretary of State weighs in on Trump’s presidential prospects in face of legal issues