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Supreme Court Appears Likely to Rule for Trump in Colorado Ballot Case

Following oral arguments on Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) appears increasingly friendly to former President Donald Trump’s side in the ongoing case regarding his ballot access in the state of Colorado.

According to Breitbart, even the left-wing justices had criticisms of the lawyers who were arguing in favor of Colorado after Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D-Colo.) declared President Trump ineligible for the primary and general election ballot. The Colorado Supreme Court narrowly sided with Griswold by a 4-3 vote.

One of the lawyers for Colorado, Jason Murray, received the lion’s share of the pushback from all nine justices with regards to his claim that President Trump should be disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which bars people who engaged in “insurrection” from holding “any office, civil or military, under the United States.”

Lawyers arguing for President Trump pointed out that by the text of the Constitution and other laws on the books, the office of President of the United States does not fall under the “office under the United States” category, as the Amendment lists Senators and Representatives, as well as electors in the electoral college, but not President or Vice President. Murray, meanwhile, mostly kept his arguments political rather than legal, arguing on the basis of what President Trump said in his speech on January 6th, 2021, rather than focusing on the letter of the law itself.

Most of the justices agreed that the office of President does not fall under the “officer” category, which instead refers to federal appointments made by the President. Other sections of the Constitution further make this distinction, clarifying that the President and Vice President are in a separate category above all of the other offices, and thus exempt from the same rules and restrictions such as the ones found in the 14th Amendment.

Murray repeatedly refused to directly answer hypothetical questions asked of him by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito, leading to testy rebukes from both justices. When Murray attempted to divert to an unrelated hypothetical by asking Gorsuch about a possible president-elect who would be ineligible due to being under the age of 35, an audibly irritated Gorsuch cut him off and demanded that he “stop changing the subject.”

But even the most left-wing member of the court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, criticized Murray by pointing out that the office of President is not included in the clause in question.

“Why didn’t they put the word “president” in the very enumerated list in Section 3? The thing that really is troubling to me is I totally understand your argument, but they were listing people that were barred and president is not there,” Jackson said. When Murray failed to give a clear answer, Jackson again asked “The language here doesn’t seem to include ‘president.’ Why is that?”

The terrible performance by the lawyers from Colorado has led to increased speculation that the decision will not only be in favor of President Trump, but could in fact be more bipartisan than originally expected. There are six justices who were appointed by Republican presidents – including three appointed by Trump himself – and only three justices appointed by Democrats. Some now believe that the ruling could be as lopsided as 8-1 or even a unanimous 9-0.

Colorado is one of only two states that has ruled Trump ineligible for the ballot, along with Maine. In both states, his name will remain on the ballot pending a decision from the Supreme Court. If the court rules in President Trump’s favor, it will most likely shut down any and all remaining challenges to his eligibility based on the 14th Amendment, which are being attempted by several other states.

 

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)