Washington — A case that might derail Donald Trump's 2024 presidential campaign puts the Supreme Court in an uncomfortable position. The justices will first address a post-Civil War constitutional clause that bars former officeholders who “engaged in insurrection” from regaining power on Thursday.
The lawsuit represents the court's most direct intervention in a presidential election since Bush v. Gore, which gave Republican George W. Bush the 2000 election. The justices adopted their first code of conduct in November after facing criticism over ethics. Public approval of the court is at near-record lows in surveys.
The controversy originates from Republican and independent voters in Colorado pushing to remove Trump off the Republican primary ballot due to his efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat to Democrat Joe Biden and the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. Colorado's top court ruled that Trump incited the capital riot and is ineligible for president again and should not be on the March 5 primary ballot.
If the Colorado voters win, the justices, including three selected by Trump, will declare that he committed rebellion and is forbidden from running again under the 14th Amendment. That would let states take him off the ballot and hurt his candidacy.
A Trump victory would end attempts in Colorado, Maine, and elsewhere to keep him off the ballot. The justices might choose a less decisive result, knowing they could revisit the matter after the November general election and in the thick of a constitutional crisis.
The court has indicated it would move fast, drastically cutting the time it receives written information and conducts courtroom arguments. Trump is also appealing to state court Maine's Democratic secretary of state, Shenna Bellows,' cancellation of his vote eligibility due to his Capitol attack participation. The Colorado Supreme Court and Maine secretary of state's findings are pending appeals.
Despite appearing in civil and criminal court processes, the former president is not anticipated to attend the Supreme Court session this week. Whatever the justices decide, Trump, who faces criminal charges for Jan. 6 and other concerns, will certainly appear more. Other election-related lawsuits are possible.
The court and parties disagreed on whether the judges should intervene in Bush v. Gore in 2000. Ever since, the conservative-driven 5-4 ruling has been highly criticized, especially because the unsigned majority opinion said that “our consideration is limited to the present circumstances.
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