5 Takeaways From Trump’s Supreme Court Ballot Case – The New York Times
The Supreme Court heard arguments on whether former President Donald J. Trump is constitutionally ineligible to hold office again. Here’s what the debate could mean for the case’s outcome.
Alan Feuer and
The Supreme Court on Thursday wrestled with whether former President Donald J. Trump is constitutionally ineligible to hold office again, as the Colorado Supreme Court had ruled in barring him from that state’s ballot.
The issue turns on whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment applies to Mr. Trump because of his efforts to stay in office after losing the 2020 election that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. The provision bars people who engaged in an insurrection against the Constitution after taking an oath to support it as an “officer of the United States.”
Here are several takeaways.
“I think that the question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States. In other words, you know, this question of whether a former president is disqualified for insurrection to be president again is, you know, just say it, it sounds awfully national to me. So whatever means there are to enforce it would suggest that they have to be federal national means. Why does, you know, if you weren’t from Colorado and you were from Wisconsin or you were from Michigan and it really, you know, what the Michigan Secretary of State did is going to make the difference between, you know, whether Candidate A is elected or Candidate B is elected. I mean, that seems quite extraordinary, doesn’t it?” “No, your honor, because ultimately it’s this court that’s going to decide that question of federal constitutional eligibility and settle the issue for the nation.”
Enough justices expressed skepticism of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision that a majority of the court appeared likely to hand Mr. Trump a victory and vote to overturn it.
Most justices seemed generally receptive to various arguments the former president’s lawyer, Jonathan F. Mitchell, advanced in support of reversing the lower court’s ruling. His main contentions were that Section 3 is not “self-executing,” meaning it could only be enforced by a separate act of Congress, and that the provision simply did not apply to a former president like Mr. Trump.
Two of the court’s three liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, joined their conservative colleagues in displaying doubts about allowing a state to decide who can run for a national office.
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