Speaker Johnson Throws Cold Water On House Democrats

By Robert Cunningham, updated on March 6, 2024

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, stated that only Congress has the authority to ban individuals from federal office for participating in an insurrection.

Democrats are trying to officially designate the January 6 events as an insurrection. But they are likely to face opposition from the Republican-dominated House of Representatives and its Speaker, Mike Johnson.

This landmark decision directly impacts the political fate of former President Donald Trump, whose eligibility for future federal office has been the subject of intense debate since the January 6 Capitol incursion.

Democrats have long criticized Trump for his alleged role in that tumultuous event, and with President Biden's approval ratings waning, the Democratic Party continues its efforts to challenge Trump's political resurgence.

Supreme Court Decision Shakes Up Political Qualifications Debate

The ruling came as a response to the Colorado Supreme Court's consideration of whether to bar Trump from the state's ballot, citing incitement of insurrection. While the decision reaffirmed that states could impose disqualification on insurrectionists for state offices, it underscored that Congress has the sole authority to disqualify individuals from federal office.

This nuance in the Supreme Court's decision adds a layer of complexity to the already turbulent political landscape.

In the wake of this ruling, Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin is spearheading an effort to revise legislation to classify the January 6 event as an insurrection formally. If successful, this would invoke the 14th Amendment, potentially barring participants from federal office.

However, given the Republican majority in the House and House Speaker Mike Johnson's firm stance against such efforts, Raskin's proposed legislation faces a steep uphill battle.

Legislative Efforts in a Divided Congress

The long odds do not deter Rep. Jamie Raskin. "I’m working on it — today," he asserts, demonstrating his commitment to this cause. Raskin's determination to amend the legislation reflects a broader Democratic strategy to address the January 6 Capitol incursion through legal avenues, despite the Republican opposition and the Supreme Court's recent ruling.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, has clarified that he believes the decision on who should be president lies with the American people. His statement to Fox News encapsulates this sentiment, emphasizing a fundamental principle of American democracy. "In this country, the American people decide the next president — not the courts and not the Congress," he declared.

However, Raskin's acknowledgment of the political realities does not diminish his resolve. "I don’t have a lot of hope that Speaker Johnson will allow us to bring enforcement legislation to the floor, but we have to try and do it," he admitted. This statement reflects a tenacious spirit, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition.

The American Public's Perspective

The broader American public seems to be in a state of general dissatisfaction. A recent poll indicates that a significant majority, 65%, believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction. This sentiment is a crucial backdrop to the political maneuvering in Washington, as it reflects the widespread discontent that could influence the upcoming elections.

The political and social aftermath of the January 6 Capitol incursion remains a contentious issue, with debates and divisions reverberating through the halls of power. The efforts to legislatively label that day's events as an insurrection indicate the enduring struggle over its historical interpretation and the consequences that should follow.

The divisions within Congress, the stance of the Supreme Court, and the efforts of individuals like Rep. Raskin all contribute to the unfolding drama of American politics. As the nation looks toward the future, the question of who is eligible to lead and the criteria for determining such eligibility remain hotly debated topics.


The Supreme Court's unanimous decision delineates a clear boundary between state and federal authority in disqualifying candidates based on allegations of insurrection, significantly affecting Trump's potential candidacy. Despite the ruling, Rep. Jamie Raskin's initiative to legislate the January 6 Capitol incursion as an insurrection faces significant obstacles, most notably from the Republican majority and House Speaker Mike Johnson.

As indicated by recent polls, the American public's prevailing dissatisfaction suggests a tumultuous political climate as the nation navigates these issues. The struggle to define and act upon the events of January 6 highlights deep divisions within the country, while the Supreme Court's ruling has set a definitive legal precedent for the disqualification of federal officeholders.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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