ELECTIONS

The Supreme Court will decide if Trump can be kept off 2024 presidential ballots

Jan 5, 2024, 3:14 PM | Updated: 3:16 pm

former president trump...

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks during a commit to caucus rally, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, in Adel, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Friday it will decide whether former President Donald Trump can be kept off the ballot because of his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, inserting the court squarely in the 2024 presidential campaign.

The justices acknowledged the need to reach a decision quickly, as voters will soon begin casting presidential primary ballots across the country. The court agreed to take up a case from Colorado stemming from Trump’s role in the events that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Arguments will be held in early February.

The court will be considering for the first time the meaning and reach of a provision of the 14th Amendment barring some people who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office. The amendment was adopted in 1868, following the Civil War. It has been so rarely used that the nation’s highest court had no previous occasion to interpret it.

Colorado’s Supreme Court, by a 4-3 vote, ruled last month that Trump should not be on the Republican primary ballot. The decision was the first time the 14th Amendment was used to bar a presidential contender from the ballot.

Trump is separately appealing to state court a ruling by Maine’s Democratic secretary of state, Shenna Bellows, that he was ineligible to appear on that state’s ballot over his role in the Capitol attack. Both the Colorado Supreme Court and the Maine secretary of state’s rulings are on hold until the appeals play out.

Three of the nine Supreme Court justices were appointed by Trump, though they have repeatedly ruled against him in 2020 election-related lawsuits, as well as his efforts to keep documents related to Jan. 6 and his tax returns from being turned over to congressional committees.

At the same time, Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have been in the majority of conservative-driven decisions that overturned the five-decade-old constitutional right to abortionexpanded gun rights and struck down affirmative action in college admissions.

Some Democratic lawmakers have called on another conservative justice, Clarence Thomas, to step aside from the case because of his wife’s support for Trump’s effort to overturn the results of the election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Thomas is unlikely to agree. He has recused himself from only one other case related to the 2020 election, involving former law clerk John Eastman, and so far the people trying to disqualify Trump haven’t asked him to recuse.

The 4-3 Colorado decision cites a ruling by Gorsuch when he was a federal judge in that state. That Gorsuch decision upheld Colorado’s move to strike a naturalized citizen from the state’s presidential ballot because he was born in Guyana and didn’t meet the constitutional requirements to run for office. The court found that Trump likewise doesn’t meet the qualifications due to his role in the U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021. That day, the Republican president had held a rally outside the White House and exhorted his supporters to “fight like hell” before they walked to the Capitol.

The two-sentence provision in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states that anyone who swore an oath to uphold the constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it is no longer eligible for state or federal office. After Congress passed an amnesty for most of the former confederates the measure targeted in 1872, the provision fell into disuse until dozens of suits were filed to keep Trump off the ballot this year. Only the one in Colorado was successful.

Trump had asked the court to overturn the Colorado ruling without even hearing arguments. “The Colorado Supreme Court decision would unconstitutionally disenfranchise millions of voters in Colorado and likely be used as a template to disenfranchise tens of millions of voters nationwide,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

They argue that Trump should win on many grounds, including that the events of Jan. 6 did not constitute an insurrection. Even if it did, they wrote, Trump himself had not engaged in insurrection. They also contend that the insurrection clause does not apply to the president and that Congress must act, not individual states.

Critics of the former president who sued in Colorado agreed that the justices should step in now and resolve the issue, as do many election law experts.

“This case is of utmost national importance. And given the upcoming presidential primary schedule, there is no time to wait for the issues to percolate further. The Court should resolve this case on an expedited timetable, so that voters in Colorado and elsewhere will know whether Trump is indeed constitutionally ineligible when they cast their primary ballots,” lawyers for the Colorado plaintiffs told the Supreme Court.

The issue of whether Trump can be on the ballot is not the only matter related to the former president or Jan. 6 that has reached the high court. The justices last month declined a request from special counsel Jack Smith to swiftly take up and rule on Trump’s claims that he is immune from prosecution in a case charging him with plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, though the issue could be back before the court soon depending on the ruling of a Washington-based appeals court.

And the court has said that it intends to hear an appeal that could upend hundreds of charges stemming from the Capitol riot, including against Trump.

___

Riccardi reported from Denver.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Elections

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneake...

MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Here’s a look inside Donald Trump’s $355 million civil fraud verdict as an appeals fight looms

On the witness stand last year, Donald Trump proclaimed: "I have a lot of cash." After Friday's eye-popping penalty in his New York civil fraud trial, he's going to need it.

5 days ago

nick clegg...

Associated Press

Tech companies sign accord to combat AI-generated election trickery

Tech executives from Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and TikTok gathered to announce a new framework for responding to AI-generated deepfakes.

6 days ago

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks to reporters at the PBS monthly news conference at the Eccles Broadcast Cen...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Gov. Cox predicts a Donald Trump victory in the upcoming presidential election

The governor blamed President Joe Biden for not taking a tougher stance to stem the flow of migrants.

7 days ago

Voting signs at West Valley City Hall in West Valley on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023....

Adam Small

Utah’s lieutenant governor would lose election authority with new bill

A new bill takes election authority from lieutenant governor's office and creates a voting council instead.

15 days ago

Image of President Biden and former president Trump debating ahdead of the 2020 election. The 3rd p...

Peter Johnston

A $6.5 million request and cancelation concerns: the presidential debate is coming to Utah

The presidential debate in Utah is scheduled for October, but there's a lot to consider in the eight months leading up to the event.

17 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak after meeting with...

MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Trump on the ballot? It’s the Supreme Court’s biggest election decision since Bush v. Gore

A case with the potential to disrupt Donald Trump's candidacy is putting the Supreme Court at the center of the 2024 presidential race.

19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

The Supreme Court will decide if Trump can be kept off 2024 presidential ballots