States can’t block Trump from ballot

States can’t block Trump from ballot

Former US President and 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a “Get Out the Vote” rally in Conway, South Carolina on February 10, 2024.

Yulia Nikhinson | Afp | Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously overturned the Colorado court’s ruling that barred former President Donald Trump from voting in the state’s Republican presidential election based on a U.S. Constitution provision on insurrection.

The Supreme Court’s ruling means that no other state can disqualify Trump – or any other candidate from now on – from a presidential or congressional election by invoking the Constitution’s Insurrection Clause.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War, states that “no person” may serve as an officer of the United States who, after first taking a federal oath of office, “commits an insurrection or rebellion” against the United States has us

Colorado was the first of three states to bar Trump from a primary on these grounds for allegedly inciting the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that threatened the certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over the incumbent trump had disturbed.

“We conclude that states may disqualify individuals who hold or attempt to hold state office,” the Supreme Court said in its ruling Monday. “But states have no authority under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, particularly the presidency.”

“For the reasons stated, the responsibility for enforcing Section 3 against federal officials and candidates lies with Congress, not the states,” the ruling said. “The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling therefore cannot stand.”

The decision did not end one way or the other if Trump participated in an insurrection, as the Colorado Supreme Court did.

Trump, who is the clear favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination, wrote in a Truth Social post in response to the ruling: “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!”

Later, at his home in Florida, Trump said: “Voters can take someone out of the race very quickly, but a court shouldn’t do that, and the Supreme Court said that very well.”

“It was a very important decision, very well thought out, and I think it will go a long way in bringing our country together, which our country needs,” he said.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in an interview with MSNBC after the ruling, “My larger reaction is disappointment.”

“I believe that under our Constitution, states should be able to expel oath-breaking insurrectionists,” Griswold said.

The president of the Washington nonprofit advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, which represented plaintiffs in the case, said the Supreme Court “failed to meet the moment” by allowing Trump back on the ballot in Colorado, even though he didn’t do this. “Exonerate him for participating in the insurrection.”

“But it is now clear that Trump led the January 6 insurrection, and it will be up to the American people to ensure accountability,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder.

The decision, which means the votes Trump receives in Tuesday’s vote in Colorado count for the former president, was no surprise.

During oral arguments in the case on Feb. 8, many of the court’s nine justices expressed skepticism about the Colorado Supreme Court’s reasoning and process in its December decision to bar Trump from the vote.

“I think the question that needs to be addressed is why a single state should decide who becomes president of the United States,” Justice Elena Kagan, one of the court’s progressive members, told a lawyer during the hearing six Colorado voters who called for Trump’s disqualification.

But in a concurring opinion Monday, Kagan and the only other liberals on the court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, wrote that they disagreed with the finding by five conservative justices that “disqualification for insurrection can occur only if “Congress shall enact a special kind of legislation pursuant to Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

“In doing so, the majority closes the door to other possible means of federal enforcement,” the trio wrote. “We cannot agree with an opinion that decides on weighty and difficult questions unnecessarily, and we therefore only agree on the verdict.”

In their opinion, the three judges also accused the five conservatives of trying to “protect all suspected insurgents from future challenges to their federal office.”

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative, in her own concurring opinion agreed with the three liberals that the case did not require the Supreme Court to rule that only Congressional legislation could enforce the Insurrection Clause.

“This lawsuit was filed by Colorado voters under state law in state court,” Barrett wrote. “We do not need to address the complicated question of whether federal legislation is the only means by which Section 3 can be enforced.”

But Barrett added: “In my opinion, this is not the time to add acrimony to disagreements.”

“The court has resolved a politically explosive matter during the turbulent phase of the presidential election,” she wrote. “It is precisely in these circumstances that writings about the Court should lower the national temperature, not raise it.”

“As things stand, our differences are far less important than our unanimity: all nine justices agree on the outcome of this case. That’s the message Americans should take home.”

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, center, speaks to members of the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC, USA, on Thursday, February 8, 2024.

Nathan Howard | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In a November ruling, a Denver District Court judge ruled that Trump could appear on Colorado’s ballot even though she believed he “participated in the insurrection” by inciting the attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

The deadly attack caused members of Congress to flee the House and Senate, delaying the confirmation of Biden’s election as president for hours.

A later Senate report found that at least seven people died and more than 170 police officers were injured in connection with the attack.

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Weeks before the insurrection, Trump falsely claimed that Biden’s victory was the result of widespread voter fraud. He also waged a pressure campaign against his Vice President Mike Pence, state election officials and others to overturn Biden’s victory.

After the Denver judge’s ruling in November, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned it in a 4-3 ruling that barred Trump from the primary.

The Colorado Supreme Court said there was substantial evidence that Trump participated in an insurrection.

“We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” the state Supreme Court said in its majority opinion in December.

“We recognize the size and gravity of the issues that now lie before us. We are also conscious of our solemn duty to apply the law without fear or favor and without allowing ourselves to be influenced by public reaction to the decisions the law directs us to make.”

That court immediately stayed the effect of that ruling to give Trump time to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which he did shortly thereafter.

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling effectively nullifies decisions by two other states, Maine and Illinois, that followed the Colorado Supreme Court and barred Trump from their primaries, also citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said later Monday that in light of the ruling, she “hereby withdraws my decision that Mr. Trump’s primary petition is invalid.”

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s name.

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2024-03-04 19:41:54