Supreme Court Says Donald Trump Can Appear On 2024 Ballot

The U.S. Supreme Court overruled a Colorado court’s decision barring Donald Trump from appearing on the 2024 presidential ballot, settling the matter of whether his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, make him ineligible for the presidency.

When it heard oral arguments in early February, the court appeared unanimous in its skepticism of the Colorado Supreme Court ruling that Trump was disqualified from office because of his role inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. That ruling cited a clause in the 14th Amendment stating that anyone who took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution but then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against it is ineligible to hold state or federal office.

At that hearing, the court’s six conservative justices and three liberal ones appeared united in the argument that that clause does not empower individual states to remove candidates for federal office from the ballot without legislative authorization from Congress.

“The whole point of the 14th Amendment was to restrict state power,” Chief Justice John Roberts, historically a swing vote on the court, said at the hearing.

“Wouldn’t that be the last place you’d look for authorization for the states, including the Confederate states, to enforce … the presidential election process?” he added. “That seems to be a position at war with the whole thrust of the 14th Amendment and very ahistorical.”

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan raised similar concerns.

“To put it most baldly, the question that you have to confront is why a single state should get to decide who gets to be president of the United States,” she said at the time.

Former president Donald Trump attends the UFC 296 event at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 16, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Former president Donald Trump attends the UFC 296 event at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 16, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chris Unger via Getty Images

When it issued its ruling in December, the Colorado Supreme Court acknowledged the enormity of such a decision.

“We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” the court wrote. “We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.”

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case at the request of Trump’s lawyers. The former president’s spokesperson Steven Cheung called Colorado’s decision an “unAmerican, unconstitutional act of election interference which cannot stand.”

Efforts to remove Trump from the ballot have advanced in 36 states, though courts have since dismissed or rejected more than half of them.

Trump’s legal woes are far from over. He was initially scheduled to face trial in March on four felony charges related to his role in the Capitol insurrection, but a judge delayed the start of that trial. A new date has not been set.

Across the four criminal cases in which he’s been indicted, he’s been charged with 91 felonies.

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

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