Explainer: What is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment?

Dec 20, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: May 30, 2024, 9:09 am

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a commit to caucus rally....

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks during a commit to caucus rally, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, in Adel, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Tuesday marked the first time in history that a presidential candidate was disqualified from holding a public office by citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. 

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision that Donald Trump is ineligible to serve as president again and removed him from the state’s 2024 election ballot due to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

Donald Trump banned from Colorado ballot in historic ruling by state’s Supreme Court

How does Section 3 of the 14th Amendment permit this action by the Colorado court?

This section of the U.S. Constitution outlines what disqualifies an individual from holding office, according to the Constitution Annotated webpage.

Essentially, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states that any individual who has participated in rebellion or insurrection against the United States or supported such activities is disqualified from holding certain public offices. 

The historical reason for the creation of Section 3 dates back to the American Civil War. According to the Library of Congress webpage, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment established consequences for those who rebelled against the U.S. during the war. 

There are four general steps to proceeding with disqualifying an individual under Section 3 of the Amendment. 

First, credible evidence or allegations that the individual engaged in rebellion or insurrection is needed. Second, there must be legal proceedings to determine the truthfulness of the allegations. Next, a state or federal court can decide if an individual is disqualified from holding a certain office. Lastly, proper authorities take steps to implement the disqualification. 

So, what’s next for former President Trump? 

Pat Shea, an attorney and former constitutional law teacher at the University of Utah told KSL NewsRadio that the former president is likely to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

Jorge Rafael Medina-Reyes pleaded guilty on Thursday to the kidnapping and murder of Nicole Solorio...

Emily Ashcraft,

Second man pleads guilty to kidnapping, murder of Kearns woman in 2021

Jorge Rafael Medina-Reyes, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday to murder, a first-degree felony, and aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

15 hours ago

american fork police in front of home where couple was found dead...

Sam Herrera

Couple found dead in American Fork home identified

American Fork Police identified 57-year-old Olin Johnson and his wife, 52-year-old Kerilyn Johnson, as the couple found dead in their home on Thursday.

19 hours ago

washington city murders suspect...

Pat Reavy,

Southern Utah woman charged with aggravated murder; prosecutors won’t seek death penalty

A 28-year-old woman accused of brutally killing her parents in their home is now facing 11 felony charges, including 10 first-degree felonies.

19 hours ago

police look for hit-and-run driver, image of the car, a newer model Ford Explorer SUV , shown...

Heather Peterson

SLCPD asks for help finding hit-and-run driver

Salt Lake City Police are looking for a hit-and-run driver involved in an accident last week that left a woman severely injured.

22 hours ago

Grocery store shooting...

Amie Schaeffer

3 dead, 10 wounded in Arkansas grocery store shooting

Two people are dead and several were wounded in a Arkansas grocery store shooting Friday afternoon. The shooter was also badly wounded.

22 hours ago

a 17-year-old boy is facing a charge of murder and 18 other felonies tied to a gang-related drive-b...

Pat Reavy,

Teen faces 19 felonies in gang-related drive-by shooting death in Murray

A 17-year-old boy is facing 19 felony charges accusing him of participating in a drive-by shooting that left one dead and others injured.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Explainer: What is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment?