The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will quickly decide whether former President Trump can be barred from the 2024 election because he “engaged in an insurrection” after losing his reelection bid in November 2020.
The justices accepted an appeal by Trump and his lawyers seeking to overturn a Colorado Supreme Court decision that would remove Trump from that state’s ballot.
The court said it would hear arguments in the case on February 8.
The announcement sets the stage for what could be a momentous and unprecedented decision on whether the front-runner for this year’s Republican presidential nomination could be disqualified by a high court with six Republican appointees.
In their appeal, Trump’s lawyers argued that political parties and their voters should decide who is on the ballot, not judges.
The justices did not say what issues they would decide that. Trump’s lawyers cited several procedural reasons for dismissing the state court’s ruling.
In a 4-3 decision, Colorado Supreme Court justices said Trump was disqualified from holding office again because he violated a provision of the 14th Amendment adopted after the Civil War that excludes any federal or state official from office. who has sworn to support the government. Constitution and then “engaged in an insurrection or rebellion” against the United States.
Trump’s lawyers argue that this provision cannot be enforced nationwide because Congress has not passed a law to set rules for all 50 states.
States are divided over Trump’s election eligibility. While Minnesota and Michigan have refused to disqualify Trump, Maine’s secretary of state joined Colorado in saying he should be excluded from the ballot.
The justices may also consider a claim by some legal scholars that the president is not a public official under the 14th Amendment. They point out that it refers to senators and representatives in Congress and to the voters, but not to the president.
Other lawyers reject this claim, since the amendment applies to “any position, civil or military.” It would be absurd, they say, to prevent the insurgents from occupying low-level positions, but not the presidency.
The justices may also consider ruling directly on whether Trump’s actions leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol amount to an insurrection.
A Colorado state judge held a five-day trial on the issue and concluded that Trump had lied about voter fraud and a “stolen election” and incited tens of thousands of his supporters to come to Washington and try to block the president’s certification. by Congress. Biden’s victory.