The Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on the Colorado Supreme Court decision allowing that state to remove Donald Trump’s name from the primary ballot based on 14th Amendment grounds. Some of the justices – including some surprising liberal justices – seem to be skeptical about the case’s merits.
The Supreme Court signaled on Thursday that it was skeptical about Colorado’s ability to remove former president Donald Trump from the Republican Primary ballot due to his actions in trying to overturn the 2020 election results.
The nine justices will hear oral arguments that could last several hours.
Jonathan Mitchell, Trump’s attorney, told the judges that “the Colorado Supreme Court decision is wrong”. It should be reversed.
The conservative and liberal justices asked an attorney representing Colorado and another representing Trump about whether the state could act to remove the ex-president under this provision of the Constitution.
The liberal justices asked some interesting questions
Justice Sonia Sotomayor questioned if this meant that a presidential candidate couldn’t be removed from the ballot if they were running for a third term in office. This is prohibited by the Constitution’s 22nd Amendment. Mitchell replied, “Of Course Not.”
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson questioned Mitchell on whether Trump can be regarded as an insurrectionist. Mitchell responded, “This was not an insurrection. It was a riot.” Although it was “shameful,” “criminal,” and “violent,” “it did not qualify as an Insurrection.”
Jason Murray, the Colorado plaintiffs’ lawyer who filed a lawsuit to remove Trump from the ballot box, was asked “Why can a single state determine who the president of the United States is?” by Justice Elena Kagan. It seems quite extraordinary, doesn’t it?”
Several other state courts, including the secretary of state’s office, are awaiting a ruling on the Colorado case.
As of this writing, it is still early in the process and we don’t know if the liberal Justices will ultimately vote with Colorado’s liberal Supreme Court.
This decision may have far-reaching consequences. If the Court rules against the Trump Team, it would effectively say that the 14th Amendment could preclude someone from running for office who has not been indicted or convicted of a crime of insurrection. This would seem to throw due process and presumption of innocence out of the window.
It appears that the oral arguments are over. One observer said:
The argument is now over. The disqualification advocates may have expected a cold reception, but this was perfectly glacial. Notably, some of the toughest and most skeptical questions came from the left of the Court.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) February 8, 2024
This story is in progress. Keep an eye out for updates.