Supreme Court keeps Trump on Colorado ballot, rejects 14th Amendment



CNN

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that former President Donald Trump must appear on the ballot The decision follows months of debate over whether the front-runner for the GOP nomination in Colorado violates the “sedition principle” enshrined in the 14th Amendment.

The comment was a resounding victory for Trump, fending off one of the many legal threats that plagued and animated his campaign against President Joe Biden. Although the decision has no impact on the four criminal cases Trump faces, including a federal election sabotage case involving some of the same conduct around January 6, 2021.

The court unanimously ruled that Trump could not be removed from the ballot unilaterally.

But the justices were divided on how broad the ruling would be. A 5-4 majority said no state could exclude a federal candidate from any ballot — but four justices insisted the court should have limited its opinion.

The five-justice majority — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanagh — wrote that states cannot remove any federal official, especially the president, without Congress first passing a law.

“We conclude that states may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold public office. But the states have no power under the Constitution to enforce Article 3 in respect of federal offices, particularly the office of the President,” the opinion said.

“Nothing in the Constitution gives the states any authority to enforce Article 3 against federal officials and candidates,” the majority added.

“Huge victory for America!!!” Trump wrote on social media.

Four judges disagreed on the scope of the judgment.

With its opinion, the majority “shuts the door on other possible avenues of federal enforcement,” wrote Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Katanji Brown Jackson in a concurring opinion. “We cannot join an opinion that unnecessarily decides important and difficult issues.”

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, writing separately in the concurrence, said, “We need not answer the complicated question of whether federal law is the exclusive vehicle through which Article 3 can be invoked.”

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Five conservatives went further than the other four, said Steve Vladek, a CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

“First, the unsigned majority opinion states that states cannot enforce Article 3 against any prospective federal officials, not just presidential nominees. Second, Congress must enact substantive legislation to enforce Article 3 — cutting off other means by which the federal government can enforce that provision, e.g. Ga., by refusing to count electoral votes in favor of a candidate violates Article 3. Justices Sodomeyer, Kagan, Barrett and Jackson did not say they would have answered those questions differently; they would not have answered them at all.”

The Supreme Court's opinion did not directly address whether Trump's actions on Jan. 6 qualified as “sedition,” aside from an issue that courts in Colorado have wrestled with.

The unsigned opinion noted that lower courts in Colorado found that Trump's comments prior to the attack on the US Capitol qualified as sedition within the meaning of the Constitution. But the US Supreme Court's unsigned opinion did not return to that ruling.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal group that filed the lawsuit on behalf of Republican voters, criticized the Supreme Court ruling — but said it was “in no way a win for Trump” because it refused to address the insurgent language. From Colorado.

“The Supreme Court had an opportunity to exonerate Trump in this case, and they chose not to. Every court — or decision-making body — that has examined this issue in significant detail has ruled that January 6th was a rebellion and that Donald Trump instigated it. That remains true today.” The group said.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold also opposed the decision.

“I am disappointed in the US Supreme Court's ruling that stripped states of their authority to enforce the 14th Amendment's 3rd Amendment to federal candidates,” Griswold said in a social media post. “Colorado can keep untruthful rebellions off our ballots.”

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The decision, which marks the first time the high court has weighed in on Trump's actions on Jan. 6, comes a day before Super Tuesday, when 16 states and territories, including Colorado, hold nominating contests.

Using the 14th Amendment to derail Trump's candidacy has always been there Seen as a legal longshot, but won in Colorado's Supreme Court in December, gaining significant momentum on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Since that decision, Trump has been removed from the ballot in Maine and Illinois.

Courts and legal committees have spent months debating the meaning of the post-Civil War provision at the heart of the case, language barring some officers who took an oath to uphold the Constitution — and later rebelled — from serving in office again. main arrangement, Known as section 3Originally intended to prevent former confederates from regaining power.

But there was considerable uncertainty about the meaning of the ban and how it should be applied. Several conservative and liberal justices raised fundamental questions about Colorado's legitimacy during the Feb. 8 arguments.

Trump has derided the 14th Amendment lawsuits that have sprung up around the country and routinely complains of unconstitutional contempt pursued by Democrats who want to keep him off the ballot instead of running against him in November. His lawyers argued that it was “un-American” to deprive voters of the opportunity to decide whether Trump should return to the White House.

Similar 14th Amendment challenges against Trump were rejected — all on procedural grounds — in Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts And Oregon. But in Colorado, Trump ultimately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in January after a series of decisions by state courts.

A liberal-leaning watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Colorado filed suit A 91-year-old man led the way on behalf of six Republican and independent voters in September Norma Anderson, a trailblazing former Republican state legislator. They sued Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and asked a judge to force her to remove Trump's name from the state's GOP primary ballot.

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A state district judge in Colorado presided Weekly investigation The ban did not apply to presidents before Trump concluded in November that he should be on the ballot even if he was “engaging in an insurgency.” The Colorado Supreme CourtA sharply divided 4-3 vote upheld the findings about Trump's role in the attack on the US Capitol, but said the ban actually applies to presidents.

Only three states Removed Trump from the ballot because of the “insurgency ban.”

Besides Colorado, Maine's top election official A similar conclusion was reached and determined that Trump is constitutionally barred from office. Trump is appealing, and a state court stayed those proceedings while the Supreme Court took up the Colorado case.

Also an Illinois judge Removed Trump from the ballot On the same January 6, the state suspended the execution of the judgment, pending any appeals.

It appeared during the Supreme Court arguments that Trump would win. Conservatives on the court, perhaps skeptical of the former president like Roberts and Kavanagh, directed relatively friendly questions to Trump's lawyer, Jonathan Mitchell. When the lawyer representing the voters stood up, the questions became more pointed and persuasive.

Conservatives weren't the only ones to appear on the attack: Justices Kagan, nominated by President Barack Obama, and Jackson, a Biden pick, zeroed in on some of the arguments Trump raised in his briefs.

“The question you have to face is why should a state decide who should be president of the United States,” Kagan said, pressing Jason Murray, who represented the challenger. “Why should an individual state have the ability to make this decision not just for their own citizens, but for the rest of the nation?”

This story has been updated with additional updates.

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