Originalist Evidence: Is it “Narrow” or “Sweeping”? Insights from Prof. Michael McConnell

Prof. Michael McConnell, of Stanford University, recently wrote an article arguing against a proposed sweeping interpretation of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment as it relates to the attempted disqualification of Donald Trump for running for President. The original interpretation of Section Three, as supported by McConnell, is based on historical evidence from the time it was enforced. He argues that it was interpreted narrowly, particularly in cases where individuals who had taken actions in support of secession but had not literally “engaged in” the insurrection were allowed to take their seats in Congress. McConnell also points out that the term “sweeping” was not used to describe Section Three at the time. He believes that his advocacy for a narrow interpretation aligns with originalist norms of constitutional interpretation. This post by Prof. McConnell offers a valuable perspective on the ongoing debate surrounding the interpretation of Section Three.