Supreme Court Overturns Colorado’s Decision to Exclude Trump from Ballot

Credits: The Times

The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the path for Donald Trump to appear on the 2024 presidential ballots, rejecting a legal challenge that sought to bar him from the Colorado primary ballot over his efforts to undermine American democracy after losing the 2020 election.

In a unanimous ruling, the justices overturned a Colorado Supreme Court decision that had declared Trump ineligible for the state primary ballot and disqualified him from the presidency under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, known as the Insurrection Clause.

The Supreme Court’s decision rested on the interpretation that the Constitution assigns to Congress, rather than the states, the responsibility for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates.

Trump (Credits: Fox News)

The ruling emphasized that states have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, including the Presidency.

The ruling effectively halts legal efforts in other states that sought to prevent Trump from appearing on the ballot due to his actions surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The decision comes just before Super Tuesday, when primary voters in Colorado and other states will cast their votes.

The crux of the case was the interpretation of Section 3, which aims to prevent individuals who engaged in insurrection from holding office. While all the justices agreed that states cannot enforce the 14th Amendment against federal candidates, the three liberal justices expressed disagreement with the majority’s approach.

In a separate concurrence, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson criticized the majority for deciding “momentous and difficult issues unnecessarily,” arguing that the majority’s interpretation limits other potential means of federal enforcement.

The majority opinion, however, agreed with arguments that the 14th Amendment requires Congress to approve “implementing legislation” to authorize enforcement of Section 3. The ruling noted that while Congress could pass such legislation, the current political climate makes it unlikely to happen during this presidential campaign.

The Supreme Court’s decision reflects concerns raised during oral arguments about the practical consequences of allowing states to bar federal candidates from ballots based on differing standards or partisan reasons.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. expressed concerns about the potential impact on presidential elections, highlighting the importance of a consistent approach across states.

The ruling represents a significant legal victory for Trump, allowing him to continue his presidential campaign without being barred from the ballot in Colorado or other states.

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