The Supreme Court today will consider whether Trump can be disqualified over the January 6 insurrection


The Supreme Court today will consider whether Trump can be disqualified over the January 6 insurrection

Election 2024

David G Savage

February 8, 2024

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday on whether former President Trump can be barred from participating in this year’s election

be the cause of accusations h


because hey

launched a mob attack on the Capitol after losing the 2020 election.

At issue is whether he violated a post-Civil War constitutional amendment that says no one may hold “any office, civil or military” after taking an oath to support the Constitution and later “rebelling” against the United States. States.

Legal scholars and historians told the justices

in written files

that the words and history of the 14th Amendment call for disqualifying Trump. They said members of the Reconstruction Congress were determined to prevent “insurgents” from gaining power and undermining American democracy.

They hoped this argument would resonate with the court’s conservatives.

who often claim that, says

the Constitution must be interpreted based on its text and its original meaning.

But the six conservatives are also Republican candidates, and Trump’s lawyers said it would be “anti-democratic” to remove the most popular Republicans from the ballot.

The former president is “the presumptive Republican nominee and the leading candidate for president of the United States,” Trump’s lawyers said in their closing brief filed Monday. “The American people, not the courts or election officials, should choose the next President of the United States. But at a time when the United States is threatening sanctions against Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship for excluding the leading opposition candidate for president from the ballot,… [the Colorado lawsuit] asks this court to impose that same antidemocratic measure domestically.”

In December, the Colorado Supreme Court became the first and so far only state or federal court to rule that Trump must be removed from the primary ballot because he is not qualified under state law.

to From




The justices agreed to fast-track Trump’s appeal. They may also be looking for a compelling legal reason

to for



the Colorado ruling, but Trump’s lawyers mainly raised procedural or technical objections.

Their main argument is that the president is not an “officer of the United States” and therefore not covered by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. They said officers are appointed, not elected, and that the 14th Amendment does not mention the president or vice president.

Many historians and legal scholars are calling


this claim is absurd. It would mean that the Reconstruction Congress would try to prevent ex-Confederates from holding “any office” in the entire country except the presidency.

Second, Trump’s lawyers


argued that the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause can only be enforced through an act of Congress. They noted that federal law makes it a crime to “incite an insurrection,” but Trump has not been charged with that crime.

Their third argument could gain traction among the court’s conservatives. In 1995, the Supreme Court struck down an Arkansas law that imposed term limits on members of Congress, and the court subsequently said states may not add new qualifications for federal officeholders.

Citing that decision, Trump’s lawyers say Colorado is imposing a new qualification on candidates for president.

In the state’s defense, Colorado attorneys say their state judges enforce existing qualifications, not new ones.

Trump’s lawyers also argue that the former president did not commit an insurrection.

“The events of January 6 did not constitute an ‘insurrection’ because there was no organized effort to overthrow or oppose the U.S. government,” they wrote. The mob attack on the Capitol “lasted only about three hours, most participants acted spontaneously, few [if any] carried firearms, and their objectives were limited: to pressure Congress and the vice president to correct what they believed were fraudulent election results.

The legal brief was filed on behalf of Colorado voters

who filed the case

including photos of the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

“As president, Trump has sworn to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. He betrayed that oath. He refused to accept the will of the more than 80 million Americans who voted against him. Rather than peacefully asserting power, Trump deliberately organized and incited a violent mob to attack the United States Capitol in a desperate attempt to prevent the counting of the electoral votes cast against him… Section 3 is precisely intended to prevent insurgents like Trump from gaining the power to unleash such chaos again.

The court said it would hear 80 minutes of oral argument in the case of Trump vs. Anderson. The first is Jonathan Mitchell, a former attorney general from Texas, who advocates for Trump. The second half will be split between two attorneys who will argue on behalf of Colorado voters who filed a lawsuit and the Colorado attorney general.


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