U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows Donald Trump to remain on Illinois primary ballot

Rick Pearson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Political News

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that states including Illinois lack the authority to remove former President Donald Trump from the ballot under the “insurrection clause” of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The court’s ruling was a direct reversal of a December order by the 4-3 Democratic majority of the Colorado Supreme Court that found the former president engaged in insurrection for his actions in the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol that was aimed at blocking the Electoral College count making Democrat Joe Biden president.

Cook County Judge Tracie Porter based her Feb. 28 order removing Trump from the March 19 Illinois primary ballot on the Colorado court finding that the former president had “engaged in insurrection.” Porter also had ruled Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was “self executing,” meaning states could act unilaterally, to remove Trump from the ballot.

But the U.S. Supreme Court found otherwise in reversing the Colorado court decision.

Under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, those who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution “as an officer of the United States,” shall not be able to serve in Congress or “hold any office, civil or military” if they have engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution.

“Because the Constitution makes Congress, rather than the States, responsible for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates, we reverse,” the nation’s highest court said in its ruling.

Justices said a relevant provision was another section of the amendment that enables Congress, subject to judicial review, “to pass ‘appropriate legislation’ to ‘enforce’ the Fourteenth Amendment,” the court ruled.


“State-by-state resolution of the question whether Section 3 bars a particular candidate for President from serving would be quite unlikely to yield a uniform answer consistent with the basic principle that “the President . . . represent(s) all the voters in the Nation,” the court said.

Porter’s ruling had made Illinois the third state in the nation to bar the former president from the ballot, along with Colorado and Maine. Porter had stayed her ruling pending resolution by the nation’s highest court.

Porter ruled that in signing his statement of candidacy for the Illinois Republican primary ballot on Jan. 4 of this year, Trump “falsely swore” he was “legally qualified’ for the presidency because the Colorado Supreme Court had already ruled that the former president “had been found to engage in insurrection.”

Porter’s ruling came in a court appeal of a bipartisan 8-0 decision by the State Board of Elections on Jan. 30 that rejected efforts backed by the group Free Speech for People to try to disqualify Trump from the Illinois primary ballot.


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