The nation’s highest court is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday over whether to bar former President Donald Trump from appearing on the ballot in the 2024 presidential election.
At issue is a decision that came down in December from the Colorado Supreme Court finding that Trump had engaged in insurrection, disqualifying him from appearing on the state’s primary ballot. The court pointed to Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021, when a crowd breached the U.S. Capitol as Congress was gathered to formalize President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election win.
Under the 14th Amendment, people are barred from holding public office if they have “engaged in insurrection” after swearing “as an officer of the United States … to support the Constitution.”
Trump has also been barred from appearing on Maine’s presidential primary ballot. That decision and the one out of Colorado have been put on hold to allow the latter case to go through the Supreme Court.
In a brief filed with the court, attorneys for Trump urged justices to “put a swift and decisive end to these ballot-disqualification efforts,” which have been reported in more than 30 states. They said the efforts “threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans” and “promise to unleash chaos and bedlam if other state courts and state officials follow Colorado’s lead and exclude the likely Republican presidential nominee from their ballots.”
Attorneys representing the four Republican and two unaffiliated Colorado voters who sued to get Trump off the ballot said that the former president “swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution,” and he ultimately “betrayed that oath.”
“He refused to accept the will of the over 80 million Americans who voted against him,” they said in a court filing. “Instead of peacefully ceding power, Trump intentionally organized and incited a violent mob to attack the United States Capitol in a desperate effort to prevent the counting of electoral votes cast against him.”
The full bench is expected to hear arguments Thursday, including Justice Clarence Thomas, who has rejected calls to step aside from the case. Thomas’ wife pushed for the reversal of 2020 election results and attended the rally that happened before the Jan. 6, 2021 attack, according to The Associated Press.
Attorneys for the Colorado voters who sued to remove Trump from the ballot have not asked for Thomas’ recusal, the AP reported.
The former president — who is the top contender to become the Republican nominee for president — previously criticized the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision, calling it “political delusion.”
Biden, who is likely to face Trump in the election, told reporters in December that it was up to the courts to decide whether the 14th Amendment applies in Trump’s case.
“Certain things are self-evident. You saw it all,” he said. “Now, whether the 14th Amendment applies, I’ll let the court make that decision. But he certainly supported an insurrection. No question about it. None. Zero.”
Trump has strongly denied any wrongdoing. He is also facing federal charges on suspicion of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
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