On Thursday the Supreme Court will take up former President Donald Trump’s petition to be included on the ballot in 2024.
It is Trump’s last-ditch attempt to stay on the ballot in all the US states. The court will consider arguments regarding whether Trump’s attempts to overturn his loss in the 2020 election—which culminated in the attack on the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021—disqualify him from winning the presidency again.
Lawsuits seeking to remove Trump from the 2024 ballot are currently pending in 13 states, according to data compiled by Lawfare: Arizona, Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Other cases have already been rejected. In Florida, three attorneys filed a case, but it was dismissed by federal judge Robin Rosenberg—an Obama appointment in Fort Lauderdale—within a week of its filing in August. The attorneys claimed they had “standing” to contest Trump’s “qualifications” to run for president. The 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause served as another foundation for the action. The court ruled that they had no such standing.
Cases from Michigan and Minnesota reached the state Supreme Courts, where judges decided that the Republican Party alone possessed the authority to decide which candidates might be on the primary ballot, regardless of their suitability for the position. Free Speech for the People, a liberal non-profit, appealed the Michigan ruling. The Minnesota Supreme Court stated that the plaintiffs could submit a supplementary challenge after August 13 should Trump win the GOP nomination for the general election.
The case being heard today is of historic importance. For the first time, a post-Civil War constitutional provision prohibiting former officials who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office will be considered by the court in this case.
Since Bush v. Gore in 2000, this will be the justices’ most significant election case. It presents the exact scenario that the court prefers to avoid: a case in which it is the last arbiter of a political disagreement. One that carries grave consequences.
The nation’s highest court has never before considered a case pertaining to Amendment 14, Section 3, which was enacted following the Civil War to bar previous officials who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office.
A decisive victory for Trump would effectively put a stop to initiatives in Maine, Colorado, and other places to keep his name off the ballot. Republican and independent voters’ attorneys, who filed a lawsuit to have Trump removed from the Colorado ballot, claim there is sufficient proof linking Trump to the rebellion that occurred on January 6th.
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump incited the riot in the nation’s capital and is ineligible to be president again. As a result, he should not be on the ballot for the state’s primary on March 5, the court ruled. It was the first time that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was applied to a presidential candidate.
Trump’s attorneys, on the other hand, contend that the amendment cannot be used to take him off the ballot.
They argue, among other things, that the incident on January 6 was not an uprising and that, even if it was, Trump was not involved. Even if they are incorrect in every other regard, they contend that Congress needs to enact legislation to revive Section 3.
The social repercussions of the the Supreme Court ruling on whether Trump can stay on the ballot in all states are equally crucial. A negative decision might create a social upheaval, initiated by Trump’s MAGA followers, the likes of which has rarely been seen in this country.