Chicago — A retired judge advised the Illinois election board Sunday that former President Donald Trump should be removed from the primary ballot, but the courts should decide. He said that Trump committed insurrection in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Tuesday is when the Illinois State Board of Elections will evaluate the suggestion. The hearing officer, Clark Erickson, heard arguments Friday from Trump's attorneys and those opposing his election. Former Kankakee County judge is Republican.
Illinois's campaign to keep Trump off the March ballot is similar to others. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments next month on the historic Colorado Supreme Court judgment to remove Trump from the ballot. The case is the high court's first look at a 14th Amendment provision prohibiting “engaged in insurrection” from public office.
Erickson's 21-page report found a “preponderance of the evidence” that Trump incited revolt. He claimed the election board cannot perform the “significant and sophisticated constitutional analysis” needed to remove Trump before the March 19 primary.
He stated, “All in all, attempting to resolve a constitutional issue within the expedited schedule of an election board hearing is somewhat akin to scheduling a two-minute round between heavyweight boxers in a telephone booth.
Though the board may disagree, Erickson said Trump should be removed from the Illinois primary ballot. A balanced election board has four Democrats and four Republicans.
The Illinois ballot effort's leader, Free Speech for People, called the Republican retired judge's opinion “significant” but contended that Illinois law allowed the board to decide.
We expect the board and ultimately Illinois courts will uphold Judge Erickson’s thoughtful analysis of why Trump is disqualified from office, but — with the greatest respect — correct him on why Illinois law authorizes that ruling,” group legal director Ron Fein wrote Sunday. The Trump campaign did not respond to a Sunday message.
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