HomeCrimeSupreme Court leaves Trump on ballot in Colorado

Supreme Court leaves Trump on ballot in Colorado

People show their opinions in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Feb. 8, 2024. Yomiuri Shimbun via AP/Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association

Left: People show their opinions in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Feb. 8, 2024 (Yomiuri Shimbun via AP). Right: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at the National Rifle Association’s Presidential Forum in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in a per curiam opinion that Donald Trump will remain on the presidential primary ballot in Colorado, rejecting an attempt from voters to disqualify him and overruling a lower court’s finding that he was ineligible under the Constitution’s insurrection clause.

The decision comes as Colorado launches it primary along with 15 other states on Super Tuesday. Early voting has already been underway in Colorado, meaning the high court’s finding is a marked victory for Trump and his voters since he is considered the presumptive nominee for GOP in its bid to take back the White House.

The case of Trump v. Anderson is the first time in history that the Supreme Court has ruled on the application of Section III of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, or as it is more commonly known, the “insurrection clause.” The Civil War era provision bans people who vowed to uphold the Constitution but then betrayed it by “engaging in insurrection” from holding office.

The justices wrote that “because the Constitution makes Congress, rather than the States, responsible for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates,” they reversed the Colorado court’s finding that State Secretary Jena Griswold had the authority to remove him. The Colorado Supreme Court reversed a lower-court ruling keeping him on the ballot in part and affirmed in part, finding that the presidency is an office of the United States and the president its officer and that Griswold could remove him and discount any write-in ballots.

The relevant provision of the Constitution the Supreme Court justices said they relied on was Section V, which “enables Congress, subject of course to judicial review, to pass ‘appropriate legislation’ to ‘enforce’ the Fourteenth Amendment.”

“Or as Senator Howard put it at the time the Amendment was framed, Section 5 ‘casts upon Congress the responsibility of seeing to it, for the future, that all sections of the amendment are carried out in good faith,’” the majority opinion said.

Further, while states have the power to disqualify a person from holding office or attempting to hold state office, “states have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the presidency.”

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