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Trump eligible for Colorado ballot in 2024 U.S. election case: Supreme Court

Click to play video: 'US Supreme Court rules Trump can’t be kicked off the ballot in Colorado'
US Supreme Court rules Trump can’t be kicked off the ballot in Colorado
WATCH: US Supreme Court rules Trump can't be kicked off the ballot in Colorado – Mar 4, 2024

Donald Trump is eligible to appear in Colorado’s primary ballot in a milestone 2024 U.S. election case, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The country’s top court overturned an earlier decision by the Colorado Supreme Court that had ruled Trump ineligible to appear in the state’s primary election, which is on Tuesday.

In its decision, the Supreme Court said only Congress can enforce the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause against federal candidates.

Trump swiftly welcomed the decision, calling it a “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA,” in a post on his Truth social media platform.

The outcome ends efforts in Colorado, Illinois, Maine and elsewhere to kick Trump, the front-runner for his party’s nomination, off the ballot because of his attempts to undo his loss in the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

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The Colorado court was the first to invoke a post-Civil War constitutional provision called the 14th Amendment aimed at preventing those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.

Colorado’s Supreme Court, in a first-of-its-kind ruling on Dec. 19, 2023, decided that the provision, Section 3, could be applied to Trump, who that court found had incited the Capitol attack. No court before had applied Section 3 to a presidential candidate.

Click to play video: 'U.S. Supreme Court to hear Trump’s presidential immunity appeal in April'
U.S. Supreme Court to hear Trump’s presidential immunity appeal in April

Trump had been kicked off the ballots in Colorado, Maine and Illinois, but all three rulings were on hold awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision.

The 14th Amendment’s Section 3 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.”

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“We conclude that states may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office. But states have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the presidency,” the opinion for the court stated on Monday.

The case is the court’s most direct involvement in a presidential election since Bush v. Gore, a decision delivered a quarter-century ago that effectively handed the 2000 election to Republican George W. Bush.

And it’s just one of several cases involving Trump directly or that could affect his chances of becoming president again, including a case scheduled for arguments in late April about whether he can be criminally prosecuted on election interference charges, including his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

The ruling came on the eve of Super Tuesday, the day in the U.S. presidential primary cycle when the most states hold party nominating contests. As lawsuits seeking to disqualify Trump cropped up across the country, it was important for his candidacy to clear any hurdles to appear on the ballot in all 50 states.

— with files from The Associated Press and Reuters  

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