On Thursday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to allow that state to remove Donald Trump from the primary ballot on 14th Amendment grounds. Several of the justices, including, surprisingly, some of the liberal justices, appear to be expressing some skepticism about the merits of this case.
The Supreme Court on Thursday signaled skepticism that Colorado had the power to remove former President Donald Trump from the Republican primary ballot because of his actions trying to overturn the 2020 election results.
Oral arguments in front of the nine justices began just after 10 a.m. and could last for several hours.
“The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision is wrong” and should be overturned, Trump attorney Jonathan Mitchell told the judges in his opening statement.
Both conservative and liberal justices pressed an attorney for Colorado and another for Trump about the power of the state to act to remove the former president under this provision of the Constitution.
The liberal justices have asked some interesting questions:
Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked if that meant a presidential candidate could not be removed from the ballot if they ran for a third term in office, which is barred by the 22nd Amendment of the Constitution. Mitchell said, “Of course not.”
Mitchell was pressed by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on whether Trump could be considered an insurrectionist. “This was a riot, not an insurrection,” Mitchell replied. While it was “shameful, criminal” and “violent,” it “did not qualify as an insurrection.”
Jason Murray, who’s representing the Colorado plaintiffs who sued to knock Trump off the ballot, was asked by Justice Elena Kagan “why a single state can determine who is president of the United States. It seems quite extraordinary, doesn’t it?”
There are several other state courts and secretary of state’s offices awaiting a decision on the Colorado case.
Previously on RedState: Trump Wins: Illinois Board of Elections Votes to Keep Trump on Primary Ballot
Another Win: Massachusetts State Ballot Law Commission Tosses 14th Amendment Case Against Trump
Maine Election Official So Desperate to Keep Trump off Ballot She’s Appealing Judge’s Hold on Decision
It’s early in the process, of course, as of this writing, and it’s impossible to know whether the liberal Justices are as skeptical as they appear to be or if, in the end, they will vote with Colorado’s more liberal Supreme Court.
This decision could have wide-ranging consequences. Should the Court rule against the Trump team, it will effectively be saying that the 14th Amendment can preclude the candidacy of someone who has never been indicted for nor convicted of the crime of insurrection, which would appear to toss due process and the presumption of innocence out the window.
Note: At this moment, it appears the oral arguments have concluded. One observer had this to say:
The argument is now over. The disqualification advocates may have expected a cold reception, but this was perfectly glacial. Notably, some of the toughest and most skeptical questions came from the left of the Court.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) February 8, 2024
This is a developing story. RedState will update you as events warrant.