Supreme Court Decision Made A Decision That States Cannot Exclude Trump from Presidential Ballot

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously overturned the Colorado court’s decision that prevented former President Donald Trump from being included on the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot due to a provision in the U.S. Constitution regarding insurrection.

The Supreme Court’s decision ensures that no state can prohibit Trump or any other candidate from future presidential ballots or congressional elections by citing the insurrection clause in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Section 3 stipulates that “no person” can hold a federal office if they have previously taken an oath of office and “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States.

Colorado was the first of three states to block Trump from a primary ballot because of his alleged role in inciting the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, which disrupted the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump. “We conclude that States may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office,” the ruling stated.

“But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 concerning federal offices, especially the Presidency.” “For the reasons given, responsibility for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates rests with Congress and not the States,” the ruling added. “The judgment of the Colorado Supreme Court therefore cannot stand.”

Donald Trump beside man in black suit
Justices unanimously agree states lack the power to enforce the Constitution’s Section 3 on federal offices. (Credits: History in HD)

Trump, widely seen as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, reacted to the ruling in a post on Truth Social, writing, “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!” Later, speaking from his home in Florida, Trump stated, “The voters can take someone out of the race very quickly, but a court shouldn’t be doing that and the Supreme Court said that very well.”

“It was a very important decision, very well-crafted, and I think it will go a long way toward bringing our country together, which our country needs,” he added. The decision, which ensures that votes he receives on Tuesday’s ballot will count for the former president, did not come as a surprise. During oral arguments in the case on February 8, many of the justices appeared skeptical of the Colorado Supreme Court’s reasoning for disqualifying Trump from the ballot.

“I think that the question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States,” Justice Elena Kagan, one of the court’s progressive members, remarked during the hearing to a lawyer for the six Colorado voters who sought Trump’s disqualification.

However, in a concurring opinion on Monday, Kagan, along with the other liberal justices, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, expressed disagreement with the finding by the five conservative justices that “a disqualification for insurrection can only occur when Congress enacts a particular kind of legislation pursuant to Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Former US President Donald Trump
The decision made by the Supreme Court nullifies bans in Maine and Illinois; all states are now barred from invoking the insurrection clause.

“In doing so, the majority shuts the door on other potential means of federal enforcement,” the trio wrote. “We cannot join an opinion that decides momentous and difficult issues unnecessarily, and we therefore concur only in the judgment.”

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative, in her own concurring opinion, agreed with the three liberals that the case did not necessitate the Supreme Court ruling that only congressional legislation could enforce the insurrection clause.

“This suit was brought by Colorado voters under state law in state court,” Barrett wrote. “It does not require us to address the complicated question whether federal legislation is the exclusive vehicle through which Section 3 can be enforced.” However, Barrett added, “In my judgment, this is not the time to amplify disagreement with stridency.”

“The Court has settled a politically charged issue in the volatile season of a Presidential election,” she wrote. “Particularly in this circumstance, writings on the Court should turn the national temperature down, not up.”

“For present purposes, our differences are far less important than our unanimity: All nine Justices agree on the outcome of this case. That is the message Americans should take home.” Monday’s ruling overturns decisions by two other states, Maine and Illinois, which also barred Trump from their primary ballots citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

All three states’ decisions are now nullified due to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday.

The amendment “was designed to help ensure an enduring Union by preventing former Confederates from returning to power in the aftermath of the Civil War,” the Supreme Court explained on Monday.

In a ruling in November, a Denver District Court judge ruled that Trump could appear on Colorado’s ballot, despite her belief that he had “engaged in insurrection” by inciting the attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

The deadly attack led members of Congress to flee the House of Representatives and the Senate, delaying by hours their certification of Biden’s election as president. A Senate report later found that at least seven people died in connection with the attack, and more than 170 police officers were injured.

Jackson Kelley
Jackson Kelley
Jackson is a political activist and market expert. He covers the impact of politics on the market and global economy.
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