Long-shot Republican presidential candidate John Anthony Castro originally filed the lawsuit back in December 2022 to remove Donald Trump’s name from the ballots in the 2024 presidential election for his involvement in the January 2021 Capitol riot.
The lawsuit refers to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, according to which no person can hold state or federal office who had taken an Oath to defend the Constitution then ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof’.
After Castro’s suit was dismissed by a federal judge, he appealed the decision to the Atlanta, Georgia-based 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court as well. In the most recent development, however, the SCOTUS announced that they are refusing to hear the case,
which means that there is no chance they would overturn the lower court’s decision.
Previously, even Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó of Hungary criticized the efforts to remove Donald Trump’s name from the ballots.
The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, referenced in Castro’s lawsuit, was ratified in 1868 in the aftermath of the American Civil War. Its primary function was to ensure equal rights to formerly enslaved African-Americans after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery.
The above-cited Section 3 was included to prevent the defeated Confederate leadership from regaining power after their states got readmitted into the Union, as some were winning elections in the South after the war. However, it was not entirely effective in doing just that—for example, Confederate Secretary of the Treasury John H. Reagan ended up serving in the US Senate from 1887–1891, and Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens became the governor of Georgia in 1882.
Castro, who brought on the lawsuit questioning Former President Trump’s eligibility, is an interesting character as well.
He is a businessman and tax consultant by trade, who has a habit of entering miscellaneous election races—however, he is yet to win any of them, either as a Democrat or a Republican. He unsuccessfully ran for the Webb County Court of Commissioners in 2004 as a Democrat (coming in dead last with fewer than 500 votes). He ran in the Republican primary for one of Texas’ Senate seats in 2020. There, he came in last but one, fourth out of five candidates with about five per cent of the vote. In 2021, he also ran for a seat in the US House of Representatives from a Texas district in a special election, just to lose yet again.
However, he still felt emboldened enough to file for the 2024 presidential election on the Republican side. His support has not been significant enough to show in any polls.
Despite Castro questioning Trump's eligibility, he himself has some questions surrounding the legality of his run as well, having been born in Landstuhl, West Germany in 1983, outside the United States. However, since he is the son of an American military serviceman stationed there, he would probably be allowed to take office—if he had the slightest bit of chance of winning...
More Legal Trouble for Trump in New York
While President Trump had a favourable ruling delivered by the highest court in this case, he still had to face additional legal scrutiny. He appeared in a New York City courthouse for the trial of a civil case New York State Attorney General Letitia James brought against him for alleged fraud. The AG is seeking $250 million in damages from President Trump and his namesake company.
This time, the former POTUS and Republican (and overall) frontrunner for the 2024 US presidential election is accused of overvaluing real estate property to secure potential loans and investments, while undervaluing it at other times for tax purposes. As expected, Trump has denounced the civil case as a ‘witch hunt’ and claims it was only put on the docket because of the corruption of the New York AG.
He has faced a deluge of legal accusations, both criminal and civil, to the point where it is almost becoming comical. The Former President has been indicted four times by now on a combined nearly 100 felony charges. However,
this seems to be helping his re-election prospects, as opposed to hurting them.
Since the release of his mugshot by the Fulton County Sheriff’s office in August 2023, for example, his poll numbers have improved significantly. He now leads incumbent President Joe Biden by 1.2 points in RealClearPolitics’ polling aggregate.