Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson scrutinizes Trump lawyer’s assertion that Jan. 6 was “not an insurrection”

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson grills Trump lawyer’s claim that Jan. 6 was “not an insurrection”

Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson rigorously interrogated Trump lawyer Jonathan Mitchell regarding his assertion that the January 6 Capitol attack did not constitute an insurrection.

During Thursday’s proceedings, the court delved into arguments concerning the former president’s appeal of a Colorado Supreme Court decision that prevented him from appearing on the state’s primary ballot, citing the Constitution’s “insurrection” clause. Jackson highlighted the Colorado court’s determination that the events at the Capitol on January 6, aimed at disrupting the electoral vote tally, indeed met the threshold for an insurrection as outlined in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Addressing Mitchell, Jackson inquired, “What is your argument that it’s not [an insurrection]?” She referenced Mitchell’s previous brief, which contended that the events did not constitute an organized endeavor to overthrow the government.

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson scrutinizes Trump lawyer's assertion that Jan. 6 was "not an insurrection"
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson scrutinizes Trump lawyer’s assertion that Jan. 6 was “not an insurrection” (Credits: POLITICO)

Mitchell responded, “That’s one of many reasons,” adding, “But for an insurrection, there needs to be an organized, concerted effort to overthrow the government of the United States through violence.”

Jackson pressed further, questioning whether a “chaotic effort to overthrow the government” could not be considered an insurrection.

Mitchell maintained his stance, stating, “No, we didn’t concede that it’s an effort to overthrow the government either,” emphasizing, “None of these criteria were met. This was a riot. It was not an insurrection. The events were shameful, criminal, violent, all of those things. But it did not qualify as insurrection as that term is used in Section 3.”

In essence, Mitchell’s argument pivoted on the distinction between a riot and an insurrection, asserting that the events of January 6, while undoubtedly reprehensible, fell short of meeting the legal threshold for insurrection under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

I'm Richard Rosales, I cover political news and ongoing US elections.