Donald Trump wins Supreme Court battle over Colorado ballot

Justices unanimously reverse December decision by Colorado's top court to remove former president from state's Republican primary ballot

Demonstrators protest outside the US Supreme Court in Washington. AFP
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The US Supreme Court ruled in favour of former president Donald Trump on Monday, overturning a judicial decision that had excluded him from Colorado's ballot under a constitutional provision involving insurrection for inciting and supporting the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The justices unanimously reversed a December 19 decision by Colorado's top court to remove Mr Trump from the state's Republican primary ballot after deciding that the US Constitution's 14th Amendment disqualified him from holding public office again.

Colorado will hold its Republican primary on Tuesday.

"BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!," Mr Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social immediately after the ruling.

Mr Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in this year's election.

His only remaining rival for his party's nomination is former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

He has also been barred from the ballot in Maine and Illinois based on the 14th Amendment, but those decisions were put on hold pending the Supreme Court's ruling in the Colorado case.

Though the justices unanimously agreed, the three liberal justices, as well as conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, said the court's opinion decided more than what was necessary to resolve the case by specifying that Section 3 can be enforced only through federal legislation.

The case was the first at the Supreme Court dealing with a provision of the 14th Amendment that was adopted after the Civil War to prevent former officeholders who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office again.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment bars from office any “officer of the United States” who took an oath “to support the Constitution of the United States” and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof”.

Some election observers have warned that a ruling requiring congressional action to enact Section 3 of the 14th Amendment could leave the door open for a renewed fight over attempts to use the provision to disqualify Mr Trump in the event he wins the election.

In one scenario, a Democrat-controlled Congress could try to reject the certification of Mr Trump’s election under the clause.

The issue could then return to the Supreme Court, possibly in the midst of a full-blown constitutional crisis.

This is one of several cases Mr Trump has been involved in since her left office.

He is facing charges in four criminal cases over election interference and the handling of confidential documents after leaving office. He was also found liable for fraud and sexual abuse in two separate civil cases and has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Updated: March 05, 2024, 6:48 AM