At long last, wake up and notice the moment. Hear the argument.
Anti-Trump legal scholars have been arguing that the third clause of the 14th Amendment, a post-Civil War measure barring Confederates from holding public office after participating in an insurrection, can be used against Donald Trump. Attaching a broken boxcar to the back of this moving train, an Aug. 25 essay at Politico casually compares the case for 14th Amendment disqualification from the presidency to the disqualification of southern congressmen during the Civil War.
You may have already spotted a problem in that last sentence because the story Joshua Zeitz writes about Trump and the 14th Amendment has nothing to do with the 14th Amendment: It’s a story about the refusal of the House of Representatives to take notice of southern congressman in 1864, well before the Reconstruction amendments were ratified. With that in mind, go read it.
The subtext speaks louder than the text. Notice the framing; notice the language that colors the argument. Here’s how Zeitz describes the context for the 14th Amendment: “They had vanquished the Confederacy and compelled Southern states to remain in the Union.”
Here’s how he opens his description of the contest over who would be seated in the House in…