Washington — Friday, the Supreme Court announced it would rule on whether former President Donald Trump may be kept off the ballot for his 2020 election loss appeals, putting it firmly in the 2024 presidential campaign.
The judges acknowledged the necessity to rule fast since presidential primary ballots are about to be cast nationwide. The court accepted Trump's appeal in a Colorado lawsuit involving his complicity in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.
The justices' almost monthlong winter holiday will be interrupted by arguments on Feb. 8, emphasizing the urgency. The court may decide before Super Tuesday on March 5, when the most delegates are up for grabs, including in Colorado, due to the tight deadline. At an Iowa campaign rally, Trump declared, “All I want is fair. I hope they're fair."
For the first time, the court will interpret a 14th Amendment provision banning “engaged in insurrection” from public office. The amendment passed in 1868 after the Civil War. It's rarely used, thus the nation's top court has never interpreted it.
Last month, Colorado's Supreme Court decided 4-3 that Trump should not be on the Republican primary ballot. The 14th Amendment was first invoked to prohibit a presidential candidate off the ballot.
Trump is also appealing to state court Maine's Democratic secretary of state, Shenna Bellows,' cancellation of his vote eligibility due to his Capitol attack participation. The Colorado Supreme Court and Maine secretary of state's findings are pending appeals.
The high court's intervention, which both parties requested, is the most direct in a presidential race since Bush v. Gore in 2000, when a conservative majority ruled for Republican George W. Bush. Only Justice Clarence Thomas remains from that court.
Three of the nine Supreme Court justices were nominated by Trump, but they have frequently ruled against him in 2020 election-related litigation and his efforts to hide Jan. 6 and tax return records from congressional committees.
Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh have voted in favor of conservative judgments that eliminated the five-decade-old constitutional right to abortion, increased gun rights, and rejected college admissions affirmative action.