Arizona Senate Passes Bill Preventing Presidents From Ballot Removal Under 14th Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As states eagerly await the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on if former President Donald Trump should be allowed on the ballot for supporting an insurrection, Arizona Republicans took the first step on Monday to ensure Trump won’t be removed from their state’s ballot. 

The Republican majority in the Arizona Senate passed a bill on Monday to ensure that any presidential candidate “may not be excluded or removed from the general election ballot on the basis of a claimed violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution” if that candidate is an official party nominee.

The bill — introduced in the state Senate by Republican Sens. Janae Shamp, Sonny Borrelli, Frank Carroll and David Gowan, and in the state House of Representatives by Republican Reps. Steve Montenegro and Austin Smith — aims to circumvent a possible Supreme Court ruling that could result in Trump being removed from the ballot in certain states. 

Thus far, the former president has been removed from the primary ballot in three states — Colorado, Maine and Illinois — but those rulings are on pause until the nation’s high court rules on the Trump campaign’s appeal of the Colorado ruling. The Arizona bill comes after Secretary of State Adrian Fontes (R) has already said that Trump can’t be barred from the state’s ballot because of a 14th Amendment violation. As the Arizona Mirror notes, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers — U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar as well as state Rep. Mark Finchem — couldn’t be removed from office because of their participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. 

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment bans any person who’s been involved in an insurrection against the U.S. from holding any political office. It was added into the U.S. Constitution in the aftermath of the Civil War to prevent former Confederate leaders from holding office. 

Despite what the 14th Amendment says, the Arizona Senate voted 16-13 along party lines to advance the bill to the Arizona House of Representatives. In comments on the floor before lawmakers voted for the bill, Sen. Priya Sundarashen (D) urged colleagues against it, according to the Arizona Mirror, saying that it was a way to “bypass” the Constitution.

Read the bill’s text here.

Track the status of the bill here.

Learn more about Trump and Section 3 of the 14th Amendment here.