Trump ballot access case on 'exceptionally fast' briefing schedule' in SCOTUS; 'sprawling' arguments possible
A case involving former President Donald Trump’s petition to overturn Colorado’s decision to keep him off the ballot in that state “presents an unusually large number of intricate and overlapping legal issues,” the New York Times reports. Image from Shutterstock.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Feb. 8 following its decision Friday to hear former President Donald Trump’s petition to overturn Colorado’s decision to keep him off the ballot in that state.
“That’s not the fastest we’ve seen the court move,” wrote Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, at his One First newsletter, “but it’s exceptionally fast—and a sign that the justices are interested in resolving the case quickly, perhaps in time for the Colorado primaries on March 5.”
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled 4-3 Dec. 19 that Trump is barred from ballot access under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars people from holding U.S. office if they engaged in insurrection or rebellion. The section applies to those have taken an oath “to support the Constitution of the United States” as “a member of Congress or as an officer of the United States or as a member of any state legislature or as an executive or judicial officer of any state.”
The amendment says Congress can allow insurrectionists to take office with a two-thirds vote.
The case “presents an unusually large number of intricate and overlapping legal issues,” the New York Times reports. Unless the Supreme Court “clarifies matters in a later order, the briefs and arguments will most likely be sprawling.”
The issues include:
• Is the ballot access issue a political question that can’t be resolved by the courts?
• Is a president one of the types of office holders who can be banned from office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment?
• Does Congress have to pass legislation before states can ban someone from the ballot under the 14th Amendment?
• Was the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack an insurrection and, if so, did Trump engage in insurrection?
• Can Trump seek office, even if he is disqualified, given that Congress can remove any disqualification?
Trump had argued in his cert petition that there was no insurrection.
“First, the events of Jan. 6, 2021, were not ‘insurrection’ as that term is used in Section 3,” the cert petition says. “‘Insurrection’ as understood at the time of the passage of the 14th Amendment meant the taking up of arms and waging war upon the United States.”
The Colorado Supreme Court decision has been stayed. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, had to decide candidates appearing on the ballot by Jan. 5; she included Trump, but his votes won’t be counted if he is found to be ineligible, the Washington Post explains.
The case is Trump v. Anderson.