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Supreme Court ruling on Trump likely dooms legal push to boot Scott Perry from Pa. ballot

Julia Terruso, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Political News

PHILADELPHIA — Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling protecting former President Donald Trump from ballot disqualification was good news for him — and U.S. Rep. Scott Perry.

The ruling, which overturned a Colorado court decision and found Trump can’t be removed from the ballot, is likely to doom challenges to Trump’s ballot eligibility in other states. It also likely signals trouble for a pending challenge to Perry’s candidacy in Pennsylvania.

Gene Stilp, a former Pennsylvania congressional candidate and liberal activist, filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court against Perry, R.-Pa., in January, arguing that Perry’s role challenging the results of the 2020 election should make him ineligible to run for office.

The suit came shortly after the Colorado court’s ruling and echoed the challenge to Trump’s candidacy.

Stilp argued Perry’s efforts to overturn the certification of Pennsylvania’s election and participation in Trump’s fake elector scheme amounted to insurrection under the U.S. Constitution. Article 3 of the 14th Amendment says people who engage in insurrection are unable to hold public office.

That interpretation of the Constitution is what justices struck down on Monday, writing states may disqualify candidates for state office, “But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency.”

The court ruled that only Congress, not the states, can disqualify a presidential candidate under the Constitution’s “insurrection clause.” It did not weigh in on whether Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election amounted to engaging in an insurrection.

The decision was somewhat expected as the justices had signaled concern over the complications of allowing individual states to assess presidential eligibility and the possibility that it could lead to a candidate on the ballot in some states and not in others.

Trump celebrated the ruling, posting on Truth Social: “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!”

 

Perry has not been charged with a crime in connection to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol or the efforts to overturn the election results.

The Pennsylvania congressman was part of Trump’s inner circle devising attempts to overturn the 2020 election. He spoke on the House floor hours after rioters ransacked the U.S. Capitol, seeking to have Pennsylvania’s electoral votes thrown out.

There’s been little movement on the lawsuit against Perry since it was filed. Both Perry and Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt entered objections last month. Schmidt had said he did not believe his office had the authority to remove a candidate from the ballot.

Perry, whose district includes Dauphin County and parts of Cumberland and York Counties, is one of the only Pennsylvania Republicans in Congress facing a serious challenge in November, as several Democrats are vying to run against him.

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(Staff writer Jeremy Roebuck contributed to this article.)

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©2024 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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