SCOTUS Weighs Whether Trump Can Be On Ballot

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Thursday asked U.S. Supreme Court justices to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling keeping him off the presidential primary ballot because of his Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt, arguing that only Congress has the ability to enforce the Constitution’s ban on insurrectionists from holding office.

“It is entirely up to Congress,” Trump’s lawyer, Jonathan Mitchell, said as oral arguments began.

Mitchell also argued that the language of the prohibition keeps an insurrectionist from holding office, but not from running for that office. He also argued that the president is not covered by the ban to begin with.

“The law is clearly on our side,” he said.

Mitchell’s arguments appeared to be winning over Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, although he received more pointed questioning from justices appointed by Democratic presidents.

The government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, on behalf of a handful of Colorado residents, sued to keep Trump’s name off the ballot because of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars those who previously swore an oath to uphold the Constitution but who then engage in insurrection from holding federal or state office.

Following a weeklong trial, a Colorado judge ruled that Trump’s words and deeds leading up to and on Jan. 6, 2021, was in fact covered by that constitutional prohibition, and that Trump had engaged in an insurrection.

The Colorado Supreme Court agreed with that finding but ruled that the trial judge had erred by deciding that the presidency is not among the offices covered by the 14th Amendment. The Colorado high court’s ruling meant that Trump was not eligible to appear on the Colorado Republican primary ballot.

Both Trump and the Colorado Republican Party appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear it on an expedited basis.

The high court is likely to receive another high-profile case in the coming days, with Trump expected to appeal a decision by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that he is not immune from prosecution for his coup attempt.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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