Donald Trump Takes Ballot Disqualification Battle to U.S. Supreme Court Over Capitol Attack

LI Network

Published on: February 9, 2024 at 15:57 IST

Former President Donald Trump is escalating his legal fight against attempts to remove him from state presidential ballots due to his alleged involvement in the 2021 Capitol attack.

On Thursday, Trump’s legal team brought the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, a move that could significantly impact the November election.

The nine justices, including three appointed by Trump, are set to hear arguments regarding his appeal against a lower court’s decision disqualifying him from Colorado’s Republican presidential primary ballot under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The lower Court found that Trump’s participation in the Capitol insurrection violated the amendment.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits any “officer of the United States” who engaged in insurrection or rebellion from holding public office.

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case is poised to play a central role in a presidential contest reminiscent of the landmark 2000 Bush v. Gore decision.

Trump is not expected to attend the 10 a.m. ET (1500 GMT) arguments. Instead, he plans to start his day at his Florida home and later travel to Nevada, where a nominating caucus is being held on Thursday night. Trump is anticipated to win the caucus as he continues his journey toward securing the Republican nomination for the November 5 challenge against Democratic President Joe Biden.

This case places the Supreme Court at the forefront of a presidential contest involving unprecedented legal challenges. Additionally, the court may soon face another Trump-related case, as he has until Monday to request the court’s intervention following a U.S. appeals court’s rejection of his claim for immunity in a criminal case related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The Colorado Supreme Court’s December 19 ruling, disqualifying Trump from the primary ballot, occurred amid a broader effort by anti-Trump groups to challenge him in more than two dozen states regarding his actions during the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack. Maine has also barred him pending the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Colorado case.

The Supreme Court, with a 6-3 conservative majority, could issue a decision swiftly given that Colorado’s Republican primary is scheduled for March 5. Trump’s lawyers argue that he is not subject to disqualification under the 14th Amendment, contending that a president is not an “officer of the United States,” and that the provision requires congressional legislation for enforcement.

The case raises critical questions about the interpretation of the 14th Amendment and may be resolved without explicitly determining whether Trump engaged in an insurrection.

Regardless of the outcome, it remains distinct from the criminal cases against him, and the ruling’s implications for his bid for immunity from prosecution as a former president remain uncertain.

The plaintiffs in the Colorado case, supported by the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, argue that a president qualifies as an “officer of the United States” under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case could shape the trajectory of Trump’s political future.

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