“You’re Fired” – Or Is He? Trump’s Future on the Presidential Ballot

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By Drew Crusciel, Staff Writer

Is the President of the United States considered to be an officer of the United States under the constitution? This seems to be the key issue in the cases by the states of Colorado and Maine attempting to bar former president Donald Trump from being included on the ballot for the upcoming presidential election.1 Their arguments are based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states “No person shall… hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”2 This provision was enacted shortly after the end of the civil war with the intent to stop former Confederates from holding office.3 Here it is being argued that Donald Trump’s actions on January 6th, 2021 were acts “engaging in insurrection,” and therefore he should be barred from holding further elected office, disqualifying him from the ballot.4

The Supreme Court of Colorado decided in Anderson v. Griswold that former president Trump’s actions on January 6th, which included telling supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell,” along with spreading false claims of systematic voter fraud, constitutes participation in an insurrection against the United States of America and aid to the insurrectionists.5 A separate ruling was issued by Maine’s Attorney General that comes to the same conclusion.6 Conversely, state courts or Attorneys General of nine other states have either come to the opposite conclusion or declined to hear the matter, thus keeping Trump on their ballot.7

All eyes are now on Colorado’s case, however, as it is currently being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.8 While a final ruling has not yet been released, current signs point to the likely overturning of Colorado’s decision.9 The Supreme Court’s 6-3 conservative majority includes three Trump appointees.10 These conservative Justices were aggressive in their questioning of the arguments for the barring of Trump’s candidacy.11 Additionally, during oral arguments, two of the three liberal Justices also seemed to indicate that they do not agree with Colorado’s ruling.12 The arguments and questions of a majority of the Justices center around whether a State has the power to unilaterally remove a candidate from the ballot.13 The 14th Amendment’s other provisions restrict the power of the States, so it may be inconsistent to read Section 3 as granting a power such as candidate removal to individual States – a power that could potentially determine the outcome of a national election.14

With election primary deadlines looming, it is likely that the Supreme Court will issue a final decision on this matter at any time.15

1 https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/supreme-court-trump-ballot-colorado-02-08-24/h_d8d7b446dc00f2b082b771dc4dfb318f

2 https://constitution.congress.gov/browse/amendment-14/section-3/

3 https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/trump-will-likely-stay-on-colorado-ballot-supreme-court-suggests-here-s-what-could-happen-next/ar-BB1hZM48

4 Id.

5 https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/explainer-what-s-at-stake-in-trump-s-us-supreme-court-bid-to-stay-on-colorado-ballot/ar-BB1hUUhk

6 https://www.maine.gov/sos/news/2023/BellowsDecisionChallengeTrumpPrimaryPetitionsDec2023.html

7 https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/supreme-court-trump-ballot-colorado-02-08-24/h_d8d7b446dc00f2b082b771dc4dfb318f

8 https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/opinion-the-supreme-court-s-first-trump-test/ar-BB1hWIAM

9 https://www.theguardian.com/law/2024/feb/08/takeaways-supreme-court-trump-ballot-insurrection

10 https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/explainer-what-s-at-stake-in-trump-s-us-supreme-court-bid-to-stay-on-colorado-ballot/ar-BB1hUUhk

11 https://www.theguardian.com/law/2024/feb/08/takeaways-supreme-court-trump-ballot-insurrection

12 Id.

13 Id.

14 Id.

15 https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/what-we-heard-at-trumps-ballot-ban-case-at-the-supreme-court

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