Bill Barr strongly opposes attempts to remove Trump from ballot

By Jen Krausz on
 January 3, 2024

Former Attorney General Bill Barr, who served under Donald Trump but has since been critical of him, said Tuesday in a guest column for The Free Press that he unequivocally opposes attempts by Democrats in some states to remove Trump from the ballot.

Barr said he was "firmly opposed" to Trump as a candidate, but didn't think it was legally correct to use the insurrectionist clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to do so.

"The efforts to knock him off the ballot are legally untenable, politically counterproductive, and, most ominously, destructive of our political order," Barr wrote. "The Supreme Court needs to act swiftly to strike down these foolish decisions."

Colorado and Maine have taken steps to remove Trump from their ballots, although both are being challenged and Colorado has decided to keep him on the ballot pending a higher court decision. Barr called both efforts "half-baked processes."

"As a legal matter, states do not have the power to enforce the disqualification provision of the Fourteenth Amendment by using their own ad hoc procedures to find that an individual has engaged in an insurrection," Barr wrote. "If the Justice Department, in pursuing its criminal case, had found that Trump had engaged in insurrection, it would be another story. But it has not."

"I do not want Trump to get the GOP nomination. But he has to be beaten at the ballot box -- not by subverting the basic systems of our democracy," Barr wrote, adding that the public sees efforts like those and the legal cases against him as "unfair," and rightly so.