WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump. A trial will likely take place in the Senate.
However, it is looking more like a trial will not begin until Jan. 19 at the earliest, a few hours before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Any verdict would likely not be rendered until after Trump leaves office.
The outcome of the Senate trial is still very much unclear, which is why some members of Congress are discussing the use of the 14th Amendment, specifically Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which deals with insurrection and banning individuals from being able to serve in public office. The amendment was passed following the Civil War when leaders did not want those in the confederacy who engaged in insurrection to become elected.
TEXT OF 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."
HOW IT WOULD WORK
To some degree, implementation of the amendment is ambiguous. It has only been used once since 1919, when Victor Berger of Wisconsin was banned from being seated in the House of Representatives over his views on socialism.
It could be used against the president or any member of Congress who objected to the election results.
Because the amendment has a lot of gray area attached to it, any invoking of it would likely result in years of legal challenges and an opinion from the Supreme Court.
Any specific individual who is banned from serving in higher office could run again if two-thirds of the House or Senate reinstated them.