Supreme Court rules 9-0 that Trump cannot be kicked off any state ballot

"Responsibility for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates rests with Congress and not the States."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
In a stunning reversal on Monday morning, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously decided against the Supreme Court of Colorado in their decision to remove Donald Trump from the state's ballot. They further said that this ruling applies to any state who wishes to make this move. Trump cannot be removed from the ballot in any state.

Colorado had made the determination that Trump could not stand for office and justified their tactic through invoking the "insurrection" clause of the 14th Amendment, section 3. After their ruling, other states jumped on board, saying that Trump would not be permitted to stand for office in their states, either.

The Court states that "if States were free to enforce Section 3 by barring candidates from running in the first place, Congress would be forced to exercise its disability removal power before voting begins if it wished for its decision to have any effect on the current election cycle. Perhaps a State may burden congressional authority in such a way when it exercises its 'exclusive' sovereign power over its own state offices."

"But," they continued, "it is implausible to suppose that the Constitution affirmatively delegated to the States the authority to impose such a burden on congressional power with respect to candidates for federal office." The Court further stated that the petitioners on behalf of Colorado were unable to identify any "tradition of state enforcement of section 3 against federal officeholders or candidates in the years following ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment."

The key aspect, however, is what they had to say about the implications of letting a ruling like that in Colorado stand.

"Conflicting state outcomes concerning the same candidate could result not just from differing views of the merits, but from variations in state law governing the proceedings that are necessary to make Section 3 disqualification determinations. Some States might allow a Section 3 challenge to succeed based on a preponderance of the evidence, while others might require a heightened showing."

"Certain evidence (like the congressional Report on which the lower courts relied here) might be admissible in some States but inadmissible hearsay in others. Disqualification might be possible only through criminal prosecution, as opposed to expedited civil proceedings, in particular States.

"Indeed, in some States—unlike Colorado (or Maine, where the secretary of state recently issued an order excluding former President Trump from the primary ballot)—procedures for excluding an ineligible candidate from the ballot may not exist at all."

"The result could well be that a single candidate would be declared ineligible in some States, but not others, based on the same conduct (and perhaps even the same factual record)."

"The 'patchwork' that would likely result from state enforcement would 'sever the direct link that the Framers found so critical between the National Government and the people of the United States' as a whole. U. S. Term Limits, 514 U. S., at 822."

"But in a Presidential election 'the impact of the votes cast in each State is affected by the votes cast'— or, in this case, the votes not allowed to be cast—'for the various candidates in other States.' Anderson, 460 U. S., at 795. An evolving electoral map could dramatically change the behavior of voters, parties, and States across the country, in different ways and at different times.

"The disruption would be all the more acute—and could nullify the votes of millions and change the election result—if Section 3 enforcement were attempted after the Nation has voted. Nothing in the Constitution requires that we endure such chaos—arriving at any time or different times, up to and perhaps beyond the Inauguration."

"For the reasons given, responsibility for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates rests with Congress and not the States," the Court determined.

"The judgment of the Colorado13 Cite as: 601 U. S. ____ (2024) Per Curiam Supreme Court therefore cannot stand."

"All nine Members of the Court agree with that result," they wrote.

"The judgment of the Colorado Supreme Court is reversed."

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case earlier in February, taking on the case on an emergency basis. In their hearing of the case, they appeared to lean toward the conclusion that state's do not have the right to unilaterally remove candidates, thereby denying their citizens the right to cote for the candidate of their choice.

Illinois, Maine and other states that have attempted this tactic will now find that they are powerless to carry it out.
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