The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday heard arguments over whether former President Donald Trump can legally run for president in November.
This occurred after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in December that Trump would be kicked off the ballot for engaging in what has been labeled an attempt to overthrow the government on Jan. 6, 2021.
Colorado argued that the former president was in breach of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which prevents anyone who has engaged in “insurrection” from running for public office.
Colorado contended that Trump’s supporters on Jan. 6, at Trump’s behest, tried to prevent Congress from certifying current President Joe Biden’s win, during a protest at the Capitol building.
They labeled the event an “insurrection.”
Trump’s supporters maintain that Jan. 6 was simply a riot, no different from the over 500 riots that occurred in the name of social justice in 2020.
They argue that Trump did not direct any of the events that occurred that day and that the charges are an attempt to use the courts for political purposes.
COURT STEERS AWAY FROM KICKING TRUMP OFF BALLOT
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared to steer away from the Colorado decision, with both liberal and conservative judges expressing concern.
The justices said Colorado’s decision, if upheld, could have “extraordinary” ramifications.
Chief Justice John Roberts said this would enable a single state to control the entire national election.
He added that if Colorado is allowed to bar Trump from the election, it could later backfire on Democrats.
“I would expect that a goodly number of states will say: ‘Whoever the Democratic candidate is, you’re off the ballot,'” Roberts said. “That’s a pretty daunting consequence.”
Justice Elena Kagan said allowing a single state to determine the entire presidential election would be “extraordinary.”
“Why should a single state have the ability to make this determination, not only for their own citizens, but for the rest of the nation?” Kagan asked.
Liberal justices also expressed worry over whether kicking Trump off the ballot could have negative consequences.
Liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said: “My question is why the framers would have designed a system that would — could — result in interim disuniformity in this way?”
Brookings Institution senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua: “Several justices expressed doubt about the effort to disqualify Trump from the presidential ballot.”
“They say it sets a precedent of allowing an individual state to outlaw particular candidates,” West said.
“It appears doubtful the Supreme Court will remove Trump from the election,” West said.
Christopher Galdieri, a political science professor at Saint Anselm College in the northeastern state of New Hampshire, told Xinhua the Supreme Court “generally seems unhappy about having to be involved with this case.”
Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland, told Xinhua: “I would give odds of four in five that the Supreme Court will rule that Trump can run for president, and that the states can’t claim their multiple jurisdictions here.”
IMPACT ON ELECTION
Trump maintains that his detractors will stop at nothing to keep him off the ballot this year. The several court cases filed against him are purely an attempt to prevent him from running, he said.
That narrative plays well with many in Trump’s base, who believe the American political establishment has destroyed their jobs and is trying to destroy their way of life.
Trump’s base views the billionaire businessman as a maverick and a political outsider who backs their values and agrees that Washington elites do not have the best interest of the public in mind.
Galdieri said the Supreme Court case may boost Trump’s popularity somewhat among his most dedicated supporters.
West said: “The issue of his qualifications for the job and respect for the law likely will be left to American voters to decide.”