The Supreme Court is set to consider if Donald Trump should be banned from running for president and whether his name can be left off the 2024 ballot in Colorado.
Trump was declared ineligible to appear on the Colorado ballot on December 19 and his appeal against the state’s Supreme Court’s decision will be heard on Thursday.
The decision marked the first time in history that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment has been used to disqualify a presidential candidate. The Civil War-era rule states that people who participate in an insurrection are ineligible for office.
Supreme Court justices will hear arguments from both sides about whether Trump can be kept off the ballot.
The highest court could even rule if the January 6 riot was an insurrection when a mob stormed the US Capitol to protest the election that saw Joe Biden beat Trump in 2020.
The US Supreme Court is set to consider if Donald Trump should be banned from running for president and appearing on the 2024 Colorado ballot
Supreme Court justices (pictured) will hear arguments from both sides about whether Trump is ineligible to be president again and can be kept off the ballot
They could even rule if the January 6 riot was an insurrection when a mob stormed the US Capitol to protest the election
The Supreme Court will decide if Trump should be removed from the Colorado ballot and if similar attempts in other states are valid.
The Republican politician, 77, is the likely frontrunner to challenge Biden, 81, in the upcoming general presidential election in November.
His case is moving much faster than usual in scheduling arguments and there is pressure for a decision to be reached before March 5. This is when voters in 15 states, including Colorado, cast their ballots in the Republican primaries.
Trump’s name is currently on the Colorado ballot ahead of any Supreme Court. Maine also looked at removing Trump from its ballot but that move has also been paused.
It is based on a Civil War-era Constitutional amendment that bans anyone who has ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion’ from holding federal office but this has never been used to disqualify a candidate for president.
The 14th Amendment has been around since 1868, but the Supreme Court has never before considered Section 3, known as the insurrection clause.
Both sides are pointing to historical clues to argue for their reading of the provision, including how it was interpreted at the time of its adoption.
The lawyers will reference arguments made 150 years ago by Salmon Chase, a member of Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet who Lincoln appointed to the Supreme Court in 1864.
Chase, in December 1868, ruled on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment – which had only been enacted in July of that year.
Section 3 was designed in the aftermath of the Civil War to prevent Confederates from being elected.
‘No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, who … shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,’ it states.
Chase ruled Jefferson Davis, the defeated Confederate president, should not face prosecution for treason.
He argued Section 3 – blocking Davis from holding office – was a form of punishment, and therefore barred any additional criminal prosecution.
At the time, Chase, formerly the Republican governor of Ohio, was toying with running for president as a Democrat, and hoping to appeal to Davis’s Democrat colleagues.
The Republican politician, 77, is the likely frontrunner to challenge Joe Biden, 81, in the upcoming presidential election in November
His case is moving much faster than usual in scheduling arguments and there is pressure for a Supreme Court decision to be reached before March 5
The 14th amendment has been around since 1868, but the Supreme Court has never before considered Section 3, known as the insurrection clause. Pictured January 6 riot on the Capitol
A year later, Chase issued an opposing decision, when faced again with the question of Section 3.
He was asked to rule whether a black man, Caesar Griffin, should have his conviction for ‘shooting with intent to kill’ overturned because the judge who presided over his case was a Confederate.
In the Griffin case, Chase ruled that Congress needed to weigh in – largely because he feared the precedent that would be set by voiding all Confederate made judgements.
Trump’s lawyers argue now that the Griffin case shows a state cannot use Section 3 as a means of disqualifying someone.
In their brief, they argue that the Griffin case helps confirm ‘congressional enforcement legislation as the exclusive means for enforcing Section 3.’
The argument is one of several they present to say that Colorado’s Supreme Court overstepped the mark. They claim Trump’s conduct at the time of January 6 did not amount to insurrection.
Colorado’s Supreme Court acknowledged it was aware of the magnitude of its December ruling.
Salmon Chase served as Republican governor of Ohio before being appointed to Lincoln’s Cabinet. Lincoln then appointed him to the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court could also be ruling on another Trump case after a federal appeals court rejected his claim of presidential immunity
It ruled he could be prosecuted on charges relating to plotting to overturn the 2020 election
‘We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach,’ the justices said.
While Trump’s lawyers claimed it had ‘unconstitutionally disenfranchised millions of voters in Colorado’ and could lead to millions more in the US.
The former president’s claims have also been backed by the chief legal officers of 27 states.
They said the Colorado ruling would lead to ‘widespread chaos.’ The attorney generals wrote: ‘Most obviously, it casts confusion into an election cycle that is just weeks away.
‘Beyond that, it upsets the respective roles of the Congress, the States, and the courts.’
Trump is not expected to attend the hearing to hear the arguments on Thursday.
The Supreme Court could also be ruling on another Trump case after a federal appeals court rejected his claim of presidential immunity.
It ruled he could be prosecuted on charges relating to plotting to overturn the 2020 election. There is a deadline of Monday to get the Supreme Court to pause this ruling.