Supreme Decision: Trump’s 14th Amendment Case Hits Court Dockets

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In a move that formally entangled the nation’s top court in the dispute over the constitutionality of excluding the former president from office, the Colorado Republican Party petitioned the court to restore Donald Trump’s inclusion on the primary ballot.

After the Colorado Supreme Court removed Trump’s name from the state’s presidential primary ballot earlier this month, the state Republican organisation filed a motion late Wednesday asking the court to reverse the decision. The court put off making a final decision until the Supreme Court could provide its opinion, but it found that Trump participated in an uprising on January 6, 2021, which disqualified him from being president according to the 14th Amendment.

Three main points are made in the state GOP’s petition: The 14th Amendment does not apply to the presidency, the insurrection clause cannot be “self-executing” (i.e., that is, states cannot decide for themselves whether or not to enforce it), and the removal of Trump from the primary ballot violated the First Amendment rights of association of the state Republican Party.

The conservative Christian legal organisation known as the American Centre for Law and Justice represents the party. The group’s principal counsel is Jay Sekulow, who represented Trump in his initial impeachment trial.

A historic ruling by a Colorado court earlier this month to remove Trump’s name off the ballot accelerated the legal campaign to remove Trump from office, spearheaded by an odd coalition of liberal activists and conservative judicial scholars.

Their case is based on the 14th Amendment’s Section 3, which was enacted after the Civil War to prevent former Confederates from being elected to public office. Those who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States and “having previously taken an oath” to defend the Constitution are not eligible to hold public office, according to the amendment.

The Trump legal team has consistently argued that their client was never involved with the rebellion. On the other hand, they have emphasised that the presidency is exempt from the amendment’s reach due to its wording.

Only the highest court in Colorado has ruled that Trump cannot run for office at this time. The supreme courts of several states have essentially sidestepped the question, letting Trump’s name appear on primary ballots but allowing more challenges to his general election eligibility to proceed (e.g., Michigan on Wednesday and Minnesota in November).

The majority of the Colorado court’s 4-3 decision held Trump responsible for the violence that occurred at the United States Capitol over two years ago, even though the judges acknowledged they were stepping on unknown ground when they reached this conclusion.

“President Trump did more than just encourage the rebellion. According to the majority, he persisted in endorsing it even after the Capitol assault had begun. “Participation in the insurrection was overt, voluntary, and direct in these acts.”

There is currently no deadline for when or whether the case must be considered by the United States Supreme Court. To settle the matter as early as possible before the 2024 election, however, numerous legal experts have asked the court to step in quickly.

Additionally, the Colorado court made notice of its expectation that the matter will be eventually considered by the United States Supreme Court. The majority acknowledged that they were entering unfamiliar ground and acknowledged that the matter at hand raised multiple questions of initial impression.

“Until we receive any order or mandate from the Supreme Court,” the state’s top court stated, and election officials “will continue to be required to include President Trump’s name on the 2024 presidential primary ballot.”

If the United States Supreme Court does not make a very quick ruling in response to the Colorado GOP’s appeal this week, then Trump will almost certainly be on the primary ballot in the state. In order to produce and mail ballots for the state’s March 5 primary, election officials must certify the ballot by January 5.

In light of the impending primary election, the state GOP and the voters who questioned Trump’s eligibility—supported by the liberal Washington-based watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, which was a driving force behind the 14th Amendment challenges—have petitioned the Supreme Court to expedite its review of the case.

Legal counsel for the plaintiffs asked the court to schedule oral arguments for the middle of January, arguing that the case should be heard and decided on its merits in “an accelerated basis to reduce voter confusion and ensure that primary voters cast their vote knowing whether Trump is disqualified from the Presidency.” The motion was filed on Thursday.


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