Supreme Court’s Dilemma: Trump’s 2024 Ballot Access Hangs in the Balance

The Supreme Court faces a significant challenge: former President Donald Trump has been declared ineligible on two state primary election ballots for the 2024 race. Legal experts are confident that the nine justices will address this unprecedented situation and find a resolution.
With the Colorado Supreme Court ruling that Trump’s insurrection disqualifies him from serving as president again under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, it is clear that the Constitution cannot be taken lightly. Even Maine’s Democratic secretary of state, without any court review, made a similar decision. However, some states like Michigan, Minnesota, and California have allowed Trump to remain on the primary ballots, creating an unequal tapestry of results.
In light of this disparity, it is only logical to expect the highest court in the land to step in and weigh in on this matter. Legal experts unanimously foresee the U.S. Supreme Court intervening in this case, especially after the Colorado ruling. While some may argue that separate decisions by other states won’t sway the justices, the 4-3 judgment from the Colorado Supreme Court stands as a compelling reminder of the urgency and significance of this issue.
With confidence and conviction, we can trust that the Supreme Court will exercise its authority to uphold the integrity of our democracy. The time has come for a definitive resolution that will shape the course of our nation’s future.

It’s undeniable that the Supreme Court steps in when federal circuits are divided. However, the same cannot be said when state Supreme Courts are at odds, especially in cases decided on state law grounds. This holds true in the current scenario where there is a divergence of legal viewpoints regarding whether Trump must be found guilty of “insurrection” before being constitutionally ineligible for his involvement.

In her written decision, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows admitted that it would have been easier to reach a conclusion if Trump had been found guilty or not guilty of the crime in a court of law. Nonetheless, she based her determination of Trump’s ineligibility on the evidence presented by the House Jan. 6 committee and other reports. Notably, California’s secretary of state concluded that Trump could not be removed, while Oregon’s secretary of state is facing a lawsuit from a liberal group because they chose not to remove Trump.
It’s important to note that both the Colorado and Maine decisions are currently on hold pending appeal, which means that Trump will remain on the ballot, at least for the time being. However, Bellows conceded that the final arbiter of Maine’s decision will likely be the highest court. Professor Ray Brescia of Albany Law School believes that the Supreme Court is bound to take up one of these disputes soon, with the Colorado case being the most likely candidate.
Let’s face it, ultimately, this matter will have to be settled by the Supreme Court. This is largely due to the various procedural postures from which these ballot challenges against Trump arise. For instance, Maine law requires voters to initially petition the secretary of state with challenges to a candidate’s qualifications, followed by a public hearing where challengers must present their case for invalidating the primary nomination. On the other hand, in Colorado, the challenge had to go through a five-day trial before a judge initially ruled in favor of Trump’s presence on the primary ballot, a decision that was later overturned by the state’s highest court.
Given the circumstances, it is becoming increasingly evident that the Supreme Court will need to intervene and provide a definitive resolution.

The varying procedural postures of state challenges present an opportunity for the Supreme Court to make narrow procedural rulings, potentially avoiding politically charged decisions. This could include ruling on whether the former president is barred from running again under the 14th Amendment. Challengers against Trump’s eligibility face a higher burden compared to Trump’s efforts to stay on the ballot. The Supreme Court could also rely on observed patterns from Trump’s 2020 election petitions to avoid getting involved in a messy political situation. The court may issue decisions that align with the calendar of the 2024 elections.

The Colorado Republican Party has appealed the state Supreme Court’s decision to remove Trump from the ballot. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has urged the Supreme Court to review the case quickly. Trump is expected to file his own appeal. The Supreme Court could potentially issue an indefinite stay on the state Supreme Court’s decision. If the Supreme Court intervenes and overturns the decisions in Colorado or Maine, Trump will face President Joe Biden in the general election.

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