Thomas has been urged on by Democratic senators to stand away from the case since his wife supports Trump's bid to reverse the election, which he lost to Joe Biden. Thomas is unlikely to concur, but all justices appeared to be engaging Friday. Thomas recused himself from only one 2020 election case, involving former legal clerk John Eastman, and Trump's opponents haven't requested him to recuse.
The 4-3 Colorado judgment references Gorsuch's federal court opinion in that state. Gorsuch's ruling affirmed Colorado's decision to exclude a naturalized citizen from the presidential vote because he was born in Guyana and didn't fulfill constitutional standards. Trump's participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack disqualified him, the court said. That day, the Republican president rallied supporters outside the White House and urged them to “fight like hell” before walking to the Capitol.
The two-sentence language in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits state and federal office for anybody who pledged to protect the constitution and subsequently “engaged in insurrection” against it. After Congress granted amnesty to most former confederates in 1872, the clause was forgotten until dozens of lawsuits were filed to keep Trump off the vote this year. Only the Colorado one worked.
Trump requested the court overrule the Colorado verdict without hearing arguments. Trump's attorneys stated that the Colorado Supreme Court ruling will unconstitutionally disenfranchise millions of Colorado voters and potentially tens of millions nationwide.
They believe Trump should win on several reasons, including that Jan. 6 was not an uprising. If it did, Trump had not incited mutiny, they wrote. They also say the insurrection clause does not applicable to the president and Congress must act, not states. Many election law experts and critics of the former president who sued in Colorado think that the court should settle the issue now.
This case is crucial to the nation. The presidential primary calendar means there is no time to let the issues simmer. "The Court should resolve this case quickly so voters in Colorado and elsewhere will know if Trump is constitutionally ineligible when they cast their primary ballots," Colorado plaintiffs' attorneys wrote the Supreme Court.
There are other Trump-related cases before the high court besides whether he may be on the ballot. Last month, special counsel Jack Smith asked the justices to quickly rule on Trump's claims that he is immune from prosecution in a case charging him with plotting to overturn the 2020 presidential election. A Washington-based appeals court could bring the issue back before the court.
The court is to hear an appeal that may overturn hundreds of Capitol riot charges, including Trump's.