Justices hear oral arguments on whether 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause bars him from returning to the White House
The Supreme Court appeared likely to reject an attempt to remove Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot, with justices across the ideological spectrum suggesting Thursday that Congress and not individual states must set the standards before a presidential candidate can be disqualified for engaging in insurrection.
Colorado’s Supreme Court, invoking a constitutional provision enacted after the Civil War, barred Trump in December from the state’s presidential ballot after finding he engaged in insurrection by inciting his followers to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop certification of President Biden’s victory in the November 2020 election. Trump appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court expedited its proceedings ahead of Colorado’s March 5 primary election.
“If Colorado’s position is upheld, surely there will be disqualification proceedings on the other side,” said Chief Justice John Roberts, suggesting a cycle of partisan retaliation by states across the country. “A goodly number of states will say, whoever the Democratic candidate is, you’re off the ballot. And others for the Republican candidate, you’re off the ballot.”
Jason Murray, representing six Republican and independent voters from Colorado who filed suit to disqualify Trump, dismissed such fears. The disqualification provision “has been dormant for 150 years. And it’s because we haven’t seen anything like Jan. 6th since Reconstruction,” he said. “Insurrection against the Constitution is something extraordinary.”