US Supreme Court signals ballot disqualification doubt over Donald Trump running for presidency

8 February 2024, 20:42 | Updated: 8 February 2024, 20:44

The Supreme Court has signalled its willingness to reject a state judicial decision disqualifying Donald Trump from running for the presidency
The Supreme Court has signalled its willingness to reject a state judicial decision disqualifying Donald Trump from running for the presidency. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

The Supreme Court has signalled its willingness to reject a state judicial decision disqualifying Donald Trump from running for the presidency.

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Colorado's court ruled Trump be taken off the ballot in the state for his part in the 2021 insurrection of the United States Capitol building.

But all but one of the nine supreme court justices have signalled their doubts over the Colorado ruling during Thursday's opening session of the federal court.

The landmark case, appealed to the court by Trump, will decide whether the former president can run for the November election if he is selected as the Republican nominee later this year.

The judges are set to hear arguments from both sides of the case. Trump's lawyers are arguing the insurrection was, in fact, a "riot".

It comes after Colorando's court ruled in December that he was not eligible to contest the Republican primary ballot due to his involvement in the insurrection during the end of his presidency and the handover of power to Joe Biden.

Demonstrators are seen outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Thursday
Demonstrators are seen outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Thursday. Picture: Alamy
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate Thursday
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate Thursday. Picture: Alamy

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If Colorado's decision is upheld, other states will be required to hold disqualification proceedings for Trump, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said.

"It will come down to just a handful of states that are going to decide the presidential election, a pretty daunting consequence," he said.

The case in question is being argued with reference to Amendment 14 of the United States Constitution. It outlaws anyone "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" from standing for election in the country.

Trump's lawyer, Jonathan Mitchell, said his client cannot be disqualified because, as a president, he is deemed an "officer of the United States", and therefore an appointed official due to his election.

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Attempts to ban him from running are simply "election interference", Trump has claimed, labelling them as a "phony hoax".

"Every one of these cases comes out of the White House, from Biden," he said.

Colorado's ruling came after six state residents, a watchdog group, and two law firms filed the legal challenge.

Trump previously claimed the Colorado case was backed by Biden's allies, who were using the legal proceedings to remove him from the presidential race.

"They want to have the Supreme Court rule or vote to take me out of the race," he told a conservative radio programme.

"That would be a very terrible thing to do. It's about the vote. It's about our constitution."

Other states have seen attempts to disqualify him from the election following the January 6 riots - but almost all have failed.

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