Dr. Rashad Richey

National TV Political Analyst, Talk Radio Host, Univ. Prof.

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Opinion

It is insane to let convicted felons run for president

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Dr. Rashad Richey

National TV Political Analyst, Talk Radio Host, Univ. Prof.

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U.S. state and federal laws often restrict the roles that convicted felons can play in American society. States prohibit felons from voting in elections, for instance, and felons are also prohibited from serving in the United States Armed Forces without an explicit waiver. Donald Trump, now a convicted felon, is nonetheless campaigning to become both president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Most Republicans and some news outlets have argued that Trump remains constitutionally eligible to campaign for the presidency following his conviction, citing a handful of convicted felons who have run for president in the past — including the famous socialist Eugene Debs, who actually ran his campaign from a prison cell.

Watch the above video as Straight Arrow News contributor Dr. Rashad Richey rebukes those arguments and explains why Donald Trump must now be legally disqualified as a presidential candidate, and then reviews the process of how states can and must remove him from their ballots.


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The following is an excerpt of the above video:

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, these rights are able to be statutorily defined per state, as long as they do not offend the nature of the right itself. Now, every state except for two, maybe three, definitely two, but every state basically provides that if you are a convicted felon, you cannot vote. You cannot register to vote.

Hell, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, he has a round-up posse prosecuting people who actually attempted to register to vote, but they were convicted felons, and now he’s going around proudly promoting that he’s letting the guy with 34 felony convictions vote in the state of Florida.

Now, here’s the thing. Once again, people in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, etc., if you have a felony conviction [or] you currently serve in parole, probation, you cannot register to vote [and] you cannot gain ballot access.

Okay, let me talk to everybody about Donald Trump running for President of the United States with 34 felony convictions, and likely we’ll have more. Okay. It was Trump himself, who said of Hillary Clinton that possibly if she becomes president of the United States, and and if she has these criminal things in front of her, it will create a constitutional crisis. But for some reason, with him actually having felonies and more felonies to that will be in front of him, that he has to defend. No constitutional crisis for him. Yeah, of course, there’s no constitutional crisis for him, because he plans to get rid of the Constitution. All right. But let’s be very clear, I disagree with many of the legal scholars who proclaimed that Trump can still run for president, and the Constitution provides the absolute authority, which means it doesn’t matter if he’s a convicted felon or not. Let me tell you why I disagree with that. For those who say, the Constitution gives trump the right to run for president, regardless of conviction, understand what they’re talking about. They’re talking about the simple language of the US Constitution. What is the simple language of the Constitution, you must be 35 years of age or older, you must live in America for 14 years. And you must be a natural born US citizen. And by the way, there’s some debate about even what the hell that means. But that he has a right. Once you have that qualification, you have the right to run for president it is a constitutional right, that is correct. But see all constitutional rights have state statutory interpretation. In order to engage or exercise that particular right. Let me give an example. You have the right to vote, your right to vote is protected by the US Constitution. According to the interpretation of the US Supreme Court, your right to vote being protected by the US Constitution does not mean that states do not have the ability to pass statutory laws that will well let’s just say protect that particular right and make sure that is fair and equitable, according to them. Because you have states that have passed laws that require ID 30 years ago, you did not need an ID to vote in the United States of America today you do per state variation of state laws. Also you have to register to vote. The Constitution says nothing about our deeds. The Constitution says nothing about registering. Let me give you another example. You have the right to bear arms, right? Your right to bear arms is codified once again, in the US Constitution, states get to determine statutorily how you engage in their right. Do you have the right to bear arms when you are of the age of majority? What is the age of majority? Well, in places like Alabama is 19, Georgia 18, some states allow you to have certain guns at 12, for hunting, etc. You see, once again, that constitutional right is contextualized, statutorily via the state, the US Supreme Court has upheld that states have rights to and this is one of the rights that a state has the right to provide the statutory dynamics around your rights, you have freedom of speech, your freedom of speech, however, once again, is regulated by Congress and statutory laws. If you utilize your freedom of speech to create havoc, like yelling, fire, there’s no fire people are injured, you can be held liable for that the government could prosecute you. And you can also be sued, and a court will intervene and say you were liable. And you can have a criminal charge. That’s possible as well. State of Georgia, you have the right to say what you want to say freedom of speech again.

 

But your freedom of speech is statutorily defined. If you use profanity in front of a minor, you can be arrested for a misdemeanor in Georgia. My point to you is this, while the legal scholars are saying that is open to shed, and this is a reality that they would like you to believe, and many Democrats unfortunately are believing it. They’re not giving you the nuance, the reality, that constitutional rights. According to the US Supreme Court, these rights are able to be statutorily defined per state, as long as they do not offend the nature of the right itself. Now, every state except for two, maybe three, definitely two, but every state basically provides that if you are a convicted felon, you cannot vote.

 

You cannot register to vote Hale going to run to Satan of Florida. He has around a posse prosecuted people who actually attempted to register to vote, but they were convicted felons, and now he’s going around proudly promoting that he’s letting the guy with 34 felony convictions vote in the state of Florida. Now, here’s the thing. Once again, people in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, etc. If you have a felony conviction you currently serve in parole probation. You cannot do to register to vote, you cannot gain ballot access. And here’s the other part.

 

Your right to run for president and your right to ballot access to different things. There are people who are running for President right now you’ve never heard of and never will. But they’re technically running for President because the right to run for president cannot be well, you know, stopped, right. Okay. They’re running for president, but they don’t have valid access. That’s the reason you don’t know about them. That’s a different process, because they did not meet the prerequisite requirements to gain ballot access, which by the way, constitution says nothing about any of this. But states pass laws to mandate a process for ballot access.

 

At some point, I hope states get it together. Because to allow this to happen in the United States of America without challenge is insane. The reason why Republicans have made gains taken away, a woman’s right to choose is a game for the Conservatives and a loss for us on the left. Why did they make that game when everybody said nobody’s going to touch Roe v. Wade, US Supreme Court justices interviewed on this in front of the Senate and said it’s established case law. Republicans refused, refused to accept what Democrats are seemingly willing to accept. No, Donald Trump does not automatically get to simply run for President of the United States as a convicted felon. What state statute says that a citizen of the state cannot hold public office under felony conviction? Those are my thoughts.

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