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Supreme Court tosses Colorado's decision to bar Trump from ballot

Ryan Tarinelli, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

The Supreme Court cleared the way on Monday for Donald Trump to appear on 2024 presidential ballots, rejecting a legal attempt to bar the Republican front-runner from the Colorado primary ballot over his push to undercut American democracy after his 2020 election loss.

In a unanimous ruling, the justices struck down a Colorado Supreme Court decision that had deemed him ineligible for the state primary ballot and had found that he was disqualified from the presidency under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, known as the Insurrection Clause.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution “makes Congress, rather than the States, responsible for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates.”

The court said the case presented a question about whether states, “in addition to Congress, may also enforce Section 3.”

“We conclude that States may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office. But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency,” the ruling states.

“Nothing in the Constitution delegates to the States any power to enforce Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates,” the ruling states.


The Supreme Court ruling, issued without identifying which justice wrote it, will halt legal efforts in other states that seek to bar Trump from the ballot because of his push to stay in power, which culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The definitive legal win for Trump comes a day before Super Tuesday, when primary voters in Colorado and other states throughout the nation will go to the polls.

A focal point in the case was the language of Section 3, which aims to prevent people who previously took an oath to support the Constitution from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection.”

While all the justices agreed in the judgment that states cannot enforce the 14th Amendment against federal candidates, the three justices on the liberal wing did not agree with how far the majority went.


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