The United States Supreme Court began analyzing this Thursday an explosive case that may have fundamental consequences for the 2024 presidential elections: must decide whether to eliminate Donald Trump as a candidate of the Colorado ballots for “insurrection”, having been involved in the assault on Congress on January 6, 2021. From what could be inferred from the questions of the magistrates to those who argued the case, experts consider that the court could lean in favor of the former president.
The impact of the ruling would extend to other states where this issue is also debated and that is why the intervention of the Court is crucial and historic because for the first time in decades it has a case of very high and decisive electoral tension, as it had in 2000 when George W Bush and Al Gore disputed the presidency on the Court by a handful of votes.
The court session lasted about two hours. and it was broadcast – only the voices, not the images – live on the main news networks. The country was waiting because it involves the Republicans' widely favorite candidate for the presidential elections on November 5, when he should compete with Democrat Joe Biden.
The nine justices of the highest US court – whose 6-3 conservative majority includes three justices appointed by Trump – heard arguments for and against the Colorado Supreme Court's decision to remove Trump of the Republican primary ballot due to the so-called “insurrectionary” clause of the 14th constitutional Amendment. This Civil War-era provision prohibits anyone who “participates in an insurrection or rebellion” to hold public office.
As can be seen from the questions asked in Court, The judges seemed inclined to favor the former president, experts say. They even pointed out that the president, the moderate John Roberts, seems to be convinced and could tilt the entire Court under his opinion, they observed. Amid a series of pointed questions from conservative justices seeking Trump's disqualification, Roberts made clear that he does not believe the conclusion that the 14th Amendment was intended to allow states to determine whether a candidate was an insurrectionist. not eligible.
Former President Donald Trump was optimistic. AP Photo
Roberts' skeptical questions and also those of conservative Brett Kavanaugh They are not a good sign for those who aspire to stop Trump, because those two justices are considered the easiest votes for them to get among the court's conservative majority. Justice Elena Kagan said directly that it would be “extraordinary” for a single state to effectively influence the entire nation's presidential election.
Despite the indications, the decision is not yet ready. But Trump seemed optimistic. “I think today's presentation was very good. I think it was well received, I hope it was well received,” he said from his home in Florida.
The primary voting is already underway in some states and that is why It is estimated that the Court will have to rule soon, especially before March 5, the so-called “Super Tuesday”, where several districts vote, including Colorado. That state's ballots were printed last week and include Trump's name. But his status as a candidate will depend on what the Supreme Court decides.
But the Court will also have another key election case on its hands. Early next week, the high court could also consider another appeal by Trump, this time against a lower court's decision. reject his demand for absolute presidential immunity for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election following his false claims of voter fraud.
These significant and politically charged cases put the Court at the center of the electoral scene as in the times when it leaned in favor of Bush. But Trump is not Al Gore, who immediately accepted his defeat in court. Given Trump's habitual refusal to accept the rules and results of the elections and court rulings, no one would be surprised if the Court were dragged into the mud of the campaigneven if Trump is a candidate.
Furthermore, the debate comes at a time when much of the country views the Supreme Court as a politicized body and a significant percentage (more than half of Republicans) still believe false claims that the last presidential election was fraudulent. .
The Colorado ruling marked the first time that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment – the so-called disqualification clause – was used to deem a presidential candidate ineligible. Section 3 prohibits holding office any “official of the United States” who has taken an oath “to support the Constitution of the United States” and then “has participated in an insurrection or rebellion against the same, or has given help or comfort to his enemies.”
The amendment was ratified after the American Civil War of 1861-1865in which southern states that allowed the practice of slavery rebelled in an attempt to secede.
Among other arguments, Trump's lawyers said that Section 3 does not apply to US presidents, that the question of presidential eligibility is reserved for Congress and that the former president did not participate in an insurrection.
The Colorado court's decision marked “the first time in American history that the judiciary has prevented voters from voting for the major parties' leading presidential candidate,” according to Trump's appeal.
Colorado plaintiffs disagreed. They emphasized the lower court's findings that Trump's intentional “mobilization, incitement and encouragement” of an armed mob to attack the Capitol meets the legal definition of Section 3.
Election law experts want the Court to definitively decide the key question of whether Trump is disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, settling the issue nationwide so other states with similar challenges to Trump's candidacy move forward.