States cannot ban Trump from presidential ballot- US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court has struck down efforts by individual states to disqualify Donald Trump from running for president using an anti- insurrection constitutional clause.

The unanimous ruling is specific to Colorado, but it also overrides challenges brought in other states.

Colorado had barred Mr. Trump from its Republican primary, arguing he incited the 2021 Capitol riot.

The court ruled that only Congress, rather than the states, had that power.

The top court’s decision clears the way for Trump to compete in the Colorado primary scheduled for Tuesday.

Two other states, Maine and Illinois , had followed Colorado in kicking Mr. Trump off the ballot on similar grounds.

The efforts in both states were put on hold while his challenge to the Colorado ruling was escalated to the Supreme Court.
In their rulling , the 9 man Justices of the Court said ” We conclude that states may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office, “But states have no power under the Constitution to enforce Sections 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the presidency.”

The justices ruled that only Congress can enforce the 14th Amendment’s provisions against federal officials and candidates.

Part of the Civil War-era amendment section 3 – bars federal, state and military officials who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the US from holding office again.

Groups including Free Speech For People had argued that the attempt to delay the peaceful transfer of power on 6 January 2021 matched the definition of insurrection outlined in the amendment.

One of the court’s justices, Amy Coney Barrett, wrote separately that the fact that all nine justices agreed on the outcome of the case is “the message that Americans should take home”.

The case argued that President Trump had incited the crowd that stormed the US Capitol on 6 January 2021

“The court has settled a politically charged issue in the volatile season of a presidential election,” Ms. Barrett wrote. “Particularly in this circumstance, writings on the court should turn the national temperature down, not up.”

But the court’s three liberal justices argued that the ruling seeks to “decide novel constitutional questions to insulate this Court and Trump from future controversy” by announcing “that a disqualification for insurrection can occur only when Congress enacts a particular kind of legislation”.

“In doing so, the majority shuts the door on other potential means of enforcement,” they added.

Atiba Ellis, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, told the BBC that while the court’s concerns about Mr Trump’s exclusion from the ballot are “fair”, the ruling “may have far-reaching consequences

“It opens the door to constitutional interpretation matters that weren’t at issue in the case. The decision throws the problem to Congress at a time when partisan deadlock will guarantee inaction on this matter,” Mr Ellis added. “The decision effectively ensures that the question of the former President’s constitutional eligibility under Section 3 will not be resolved prior to the 2024 election.”

Another legal scholar, Albany Law School’s Ray Brescia, said the court’s decision prevents a situation in which there is a “patchwork of states with different processes”.

“If the court was to allow Colorado to proceed in this way, what’s to stop some rogue prosecutor in another state from saying that a candidate from a different party is not a viable candidate because they engaged in insurrection?,” he said.

Republican voters in Colorado and 14 other states will vote on Tuesday in a marathon contest dubbed Super Tuesday.

The former president is widely expected to sweep the board and defeat his sole remaining opponent, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, in every battleground.

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