Wednesday, March 6, 2024

SCOTUS Unanimously Sides With Trump Against Colorado

The Supreme Court of the United States has unanimously reversed the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court that had removed former President Donald Trump from the state's Republican presidential primary ballot. The Colorado court had ruled that Trump was disqualified from running for office again under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which bars anyone who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution from holding any federal or state office. The Colorado court found that Trump had incited the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court disagreed with that interpretation of Section 3. The majority opinion, written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, held that only Congress has the authority to enforce Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates and that states cannot unilaterally exclude anyone from the ballot based on their own judgment of insurrection. The majority also noted that Congress has not passed any legislation to implement Section 3, and that it has not declared anyone to be disqualified under it since 1898. The majority argued that allowing states to decide who is eligible for office under Section 3 would create a "state-by-state patchwork" of decisions that would undermine the uniformity and stability of federal elections.

The majority opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Justice Barrett also wrote a separate concurring opinion, in which she agreed with the majority's conclusion but suggested that there may be other ways to enforce Section 3 besides congressional legislation, such as a declaratory judgment by a federal court or a challenge by an opposing candidate. She also expressed some doubt about whether Section 3 applies to former officeholders at all, or only to current ones.

The three liberal justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, also concurred in the judgment but wrote a separate opinion to criticize the majority for going beyond what was necessary to resolve the case. They argued that the majority should have left open the possibility of other means of enforcing Section 3, such as those suggested by Justice Barrett or by a federal statute that authorizes private lawsuits to challenge violations of voting rights. They also pointed out that the majority did not address the merits of the Colorado court's finding that Trump had engaged in insurrection and that they did not rule out the possibility that Congress or a federal court could still declare him ineligible in the future.

The Supreme Court's decision means that Trump will remain on the ballot in Colorado and in two other states, Illinois and Maine, that had also sought to exclude him under Section 3. Trump is currently leading the polls among Republican voters nationwide and has announced his intention to run for president again in 2024.

It is very rare for the Supreme Court of the United States to get things right. However, they have been on a roll lately. The decision to keep President Trump on the ballot in Colorado and other states was a good one. Trump was removed from the ballot under a false pretense, namely that he was the creator and instigator of an insurrection.  To date, he has not been charged nor found guilty of such a treasonous act. How can he be penalized for something he was never even found guilty of?  Those who attempted to remove the former president from the ballot are acting on an ulterior political motive. It is sad and scary that some courts even entertained this. 

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References:


- [Supreme Court of the United States: Trump v. Anderson](https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/23pdf/23-719_19m2.pdf)

- [USA Today: Trump stays on Colorado ballot: What to know from Supreme Court ruling](https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2024/03/04/supreme-court-decision-trump-colorado-ballot-takeaways/72841402007/)

- [CNBC: Supreme Court: States can't block Trump from ballot](https://www.cnbc.com/2024/03/04/supreme-court-rules-in-trump-colorado-ballot-case.html)

- [The Hill: Supreme Court keeps Trump on Colorado ballot: Read the ruling](https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/4506668-supreme-court-keeps-trump-on-colorado-ballot-read-the-ruling/)

- [Denver Post: U.S. Supreme Court rules Donald Trump is allowed on Colorado's ballot](https://www.denverpost.com/2024/03/04/supreme-court-ruling-donald-trump-ballot-colorado-case/)

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