As far as I know, the most famous and ruthless gangster of all time has to be Al Capone. In the movie The Untouchables, a disloyal Lieutenant was beaten to death with a baseball bat by none other than Al Capone. So, I feel pretty confident that if I had spit in Al Capone’s Cheerios, there would be some serious and harsh consequences, like my death. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner chief, did exactly that to Vladimir Putin. Several months ago, Prigozhin took his army of mercenaries and marched to Moscow. This was a coup attempt. He had little or no resistance. Suddenly, just hours from Moscow, he turned the convoy around and announced that the conflict had been resolved. What? We all knew how this was going to end. No, he wasn’t beaten to death with a baseball bat, but a plane that he was on mysteriously blew up. To misquote Thanos from the Avengers – his untimely death was inevitable. Vladimir Putin is a gangster. He is ruthless. He has proven his willingness to assassinate enemies. Yevgeny Prigozhin knew better than to challenge Vladimir Putin. Personally, I feel sorry for the other passengers on the plane. They were collateral damage.

Donald J. Trump has been indicted for the fourth time in five months. He has been booked. He has been fingerprinted. His mug shot has been plastered all over the Internet. Once again, following the proceedings, he held a press conference where he, once again, declared himself innocent. Somehow, this indictment is different. This is not a federal indictment, but instead, it is a state indictment. This is the state of Georgia.

In essence, Donald Trump and 18 co-conspirators have been indicted for their efforts to try to overturn the election in Georgia. Fani T. Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, has been investigating this issue for more than a year. She is an experienced prosecutor. This is a complicated case that will take time to wind through the courts. Yet, it has the potential to be the most devastating against Donald Trump.

To me, the bigger question is the 14th Amendment. Specifically, section 3 of the 14th amendment states: No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

As far as I know, the 14th Amendment has not been repealed. It is still active in our Constitution, and therefore, it is a law that we abide by. If we believe that Donald Trump instigated or participated in the insurrection on January 6th, then we are obligated to remove him from every presidential ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This isn’t a choice. It’s an obligation. We are a nation of laws. We follow the law. It is really that simple.

The bigger question is how? How do we follow the law? One of the large misconceptions is that Donald Trump needs to be proven to be an insurrectionist in a court of law. This is not true. The House committee proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Donald Trump and others participated in the insurrection on January 6th. This is our proof. The 14th Amendment has satisfied the committee. Now, I think that any American citizen can petition the courts to remove Donald Trump and other insurrectionists from the ballot. Unfortunately, we must do this one state at a time. For example, a lawyer in Florida has filed a case in the Southern District of Florida that is asking for Donald Trump to be disqualified and removed from the ballot. No matter how this case is decided, I suspect it will go through the courts and finally end up in the Supreme Court. Now, this will test our system! Should the justices that were appointed to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump recuse themselves for conflicts of interest? This is going to get really interesting.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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