February 9, 2024

Trump at SCOTUS

“The Supreme Court on Thursday appeared ready to hold that Colorado cannot exclude former President Donald Trump from the ballot based on his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol. During an oral argument that lasted for more than two hours, justices of all ideological stripes questioned the wisdom of allowing a state to make its own decisions about whether a candidate should appear on the ballot, both because of the effect that such decisions would have on the rest of the country and because of the hurdles that courts would face in reviewing those decisions…

“The case centers on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which was enacted in the wake of the Civil War to disqualify individuals from holding office who had previously served in the federal or state government before the war but then supported the Confederacy.” SCOTUSblog

Both sides agree that the Supreme Court will most likely reverse Trump’s removal from the ballot:

“Is there even one vote on the Supreme Court to disqualify Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot for committing ‘insurrection’ amid the Jan. 6 Capitol riot? Drawing conclusions from questions at oral argument is a hazardous business, but it was hard to mistake the skeptical tenor of almost all of the questions Thursday in Trump v. Anderson

“Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was doubtful that Section 3 covers Mr. Trump at all. ‘Why didn’t they put the word ‘President’ in the very enumerated list?’ she asked. The disqualification clause mentions the Senate and House, as well as presidential electors, before sweeping in ‘any office, civil or military, under the United States.’ Is it likely, wondered Justice Jackson, that the amendment’s framers had the Presidency in mind, yet they ‘sort of smuggled it in through that catchall phrase?’”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Jonathan Mitchell, the lawyer representing Trump, was in way over his head. During Mitchell’s time at the podium, the justices took turns ripping apart his arguments… [Yet] After Mitchell stepped down from the podium, after emphasizing two arguments that nearly all the justices appeared to view as weak, most of the Court spent the rest of the argument trying to come up with a better reason to rule in favor of Trump

“In any event, enough justices raised concerns about what would happen if each state got to decide whether Trump (or President Joe Biden, for that matter) can seek the presidency that it appears very likely the Court will come up with a reason to say that states cannot do this… The justices’ practical concerns about letting these cases be resolved by states appeared to overwhelm any concerns they had about the text of the Constitution.”
Ian Millhiser, Vox

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