US top court to hear Donald Trump’s appeal against Colorado ballot ban

Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling from December 19 disqualified Trump from the state’s Republican primary ballot

Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Windham, New Hampshire, US, on August 8, 2023. — Reuters

The US Supreme Court has agreed to review Donald Trump’s appeal against the ruling of a Colorado court to exclude him from the state’s Republican primary ballot, setting up a high-stakes legal battle. 

The Court, comprised of a conservative majority that includes three justices appointed by Trump, announced the hearing for February 8.

The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling from December 19 disqualified Trump from the state’s Republican primary ballot, citing the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution due to his alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. The ruling was spurred by challenges from Republican and unaffiliated voters in Colorado.

Trump’s legal team swiftly filed an appeal, emphasising that preventing voters from supporting a major-party presidential candidate was unprecedented and urged the Supreme Court to reverse the Colorado decision. They argued that determining eligibility for the presidency falls under Congress’s jurisdiction, not state courts’.

This legal tussle not only affects Colorado but also extends to Maine, where Trump faces a similar challenge to appear on the primary ballot. Maine’s Secretary of State, a Democrat, ruled against Trump’s inclusion, prompting his attorneys to denounce her decision as biased and arbitrary.

At the core of these disputes lies the 14th Amendment’s Section Three, which bars individuals engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” from holding public office. While some states like Minnesota and Michigan have allowed Trump to stay on their ballots despite challenges, the legal battle intensifies as Colorado and Maine take a different stance.

This case thrusts the Supreme Court into a critical position, given its potential impact on the 2024 presidential election. Republicans have criticised the disqualification, decrying it as interference in the electoral process, while proponents argue that holding Trump accountable for alleged insurrection aligns with democratic values.

Simultaneously, Trump faces legal troubles on multiple fronts, including impending trials related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. 

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