US Supreme Court rejects Donald Trump ballot challenge in Colorado, blocking state efforts to keep him out of election

Nick Coltrain, The Denver Post on

Published in Political News

Donald Trump’s position on Colorado’s ballot is secure ahead of Tuesday’s primary, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday morning, overturning the Colorado Supreme Court’s earlier finding that the former president engaged in insurrection and was ineligible to run.

The federal justices’ 9-0 ruling puts to rest questions about whether states can enforce the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment by disqualifying presidential candidates — though several justices disagreed with the opinion’s full rationale and scope.

“Because the Constitution makes Congress, rather than the States, responsible for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates, we reverse,” the per curiam opinion says. It was not signed and represents the opinion of the court.

The ruling effectively keeps the status quo for Colorado’s primary elections, which will be held alongside several other states’ primaries on Super Tuesday. Ballots for the Republican race, which features a matchup with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, were mailed to voters by Colorado clerks weeks ago, with Trump’s name listed as an option while the appeal was playing out.

This ruling ensures those votes will be counted.

The justices cited concerns of widespread “disruption” to federal elections as shifting state-by-state rules and qualifications potentially disenfranchise millions of voters and affect electoral outcomes.


“Nothing in the Constitution requires that we endure such chaos — arriving at any time or different times, up to and perhaps beyond the Inauguration,” the opinion says.

While all signed onto the overall ruling, the court’s three liberal justices and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative, filed separate concurrences to argue the majority went too far with their opinion that Congress needed to enforce the clause.

“I agree that States lack the power to enforce Section 3 against Presidential candidates. That principle is sufficient to resolve this case, and I would decide no more than that,” Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, wrote. “... It does not require us to address the complicated question whether federal legislation is the exclusive vehicle through which Section 3 can be enforced.”

The separate concurrence by Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson argued that by going into so much detail, “the majority attempts to insulate all alleged insurrectionists from future challenges to their holding federal office.”


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