Supreme Court Skeptical of Removing Trump from Ballot

WASHINGTON, Feb 8, 2024 — On Thursday, the Supreme Court seemed doubtful about efforts to kick former President Donald Trump off the 2024 presidential ballot due to his involvement in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

Key Arguments and Concerns

The court session, which lasted over two hours, saw judges across the political spectrum wonder if Trump could be banned from running for president again because of his behavior after losing the 2020 election and the Capitol incident. They focused on whether kicking someone off the ballot needed Congress to step in and if the president’s role is even included in the rule made after the Civil War to stop those who took part in an uprising from serving in office.

Supreme Court Justices’ Stance

  • Justice Elena Kagan, among others, questioned why one state should get to call the shots on who can run for president, highlighting that Congress should have a say.
  • Justice Sonia Sotomayor was perhaps the lone voice that might back the Colorado Supreme Court decision labeling Trump as someone “engaged in insurrection.”
  • Chief Justice John Roberts was wary about creating a rule that might be used to disqualify other political hopefuls on similar grounds.

The discussion didn’t spend much time on whether Trump’s actions were really an insurrection. Instead, they zoomed in on larger legal and constitutional issues.

The team defending Trump insisted that the Capitol chaos wasn’t really an insurrection and that Trump wasn’t personally involved. They maintained that the constitutional amendment being debated doesn’t apply to presidents or those running for the position. According to them, without Congress making a move, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment cannot be enforced.

Laywers for Republican and independent voters aimed to get Trump off the ballot claimed that the January 6 events were an insurrection incited by Trump. They argued that there’s no special treatment for presidents under Section 3 and no extra laws needed to apply it.

If Trump wins this case, he’ll stay on ballots in Colorado and other states. If not, his chances of running could take a big hit.

Trump’s Reaction and Analysis

Trump slammed the lawsuit from his place in Mar-a-Lago, labeling it as Democrats messing with elections. Despite this, he believed he’d top polls. Experts watching the Court think they’ll let Trump run, pointing out how odd it would be for a single state to throw a wrench in national elections without Congress saying so.

Derek Muller, who knows election law well, mentioned justices’ worries about one state altering a presidential election. They stressed the need for clear rules from Congress on such important issues.

What Comes Next?

The Supreme Court is hurrying through this case, with eyes on making a call before March 5’s Super Tuesday. This ruling’s not just key for Trump in 2024—it could also guide future decisions about election bans linked to rebellions.

This big case puts the spotlight back on the court’s power over presidential votes, similar to the Bush versus Gore case from 2000. With everyone waiting on a quick verdict, what’ll happen next is still up in the air, showing just how tangled law, politics, and protecting democracy can be.

Featured Img Src Mark Taylor from Rockville, USACC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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