As multiple states investigate the premise that the 14th Amendment could keep Donald Trump off of their 2024 general election ballot, Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale, implored the Supreme Court to jump into the fray as soon as possible because it could prevent another Jan. 6-type rebellion.
In a column for Slate, Ackerman made the case that no matter how courts in states like Colorado and Minnesota rule, the Supreme Court will inevitably be put on the spot to provide a definitive ruling on what constitutes an "insurrection or rebellion" that can preclude a citozen from running for office.
According to the law professor, the sooner the Supreme Court makes a ruling, the better.
As he explained, "Normally, the justices would take months to consider the merits of such an important issue and reach a decision only in June 2024, at the end of their present term. Nevertheless, it would be a tragic mistake for the court to delay its decision when the two cases arrive on its docket."
Admitting he does not expect a unanimous ruling from the fractious court, he warned the biggest risk would be the application of different standards in different states which would throw the country into chaos.
"In some of the states, Trump will run as the Republican candidate. In others, the GOP will designate a stand-in candidate in its effort to deprive Biden of an Electoral College majority on Election Day," he predicted. "Such a three-candidate race will culminate in a shattering tragedy on Jan. 20, 2025, when the next president is required to take the oath 'to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.'"
He added, "In short, when the Colorado and Minnesota cases arrive in Washington, the Supreme Court will confront a desperate race against time. If it fails to decide the cases rapidly, it will provoke a constitutional crisis once the polls close and each state decides who won the election."
Short of that, he suggested Republicans could make a case that Trump was deprived of the ability to be part of a fair election even if President Joe Biden wins by an overwhelming margin.
As he explained, Republicans "...will emphasize that the states that disqualified Trump had prevented their voters from showing that they vastly preferred him to Biden. Instead, the best they could do was to vote for his proxy, who lacked Trump’s magnetic appeal. As a consequence, House Republicans will claim that they are defending democracy in deploying the “one state, one vote” rule on behalf of Trump—since he would have won the popular vote on a nationwide basis if Americans had been given a nationwide chance to express their support for him in his campaign against Biden."
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