The Supreme Court will hear arguments today over the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to remove Donald Trump from the ballot for having violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, aka the ‘Insurrection Clause.’
The Supreme Court’s ultimate decision will determine, effectively, whether Donald Trump, the expected GOP nominee for president, will be permitted on ballots nationwide. Understandably, the decision, which will have far-reaching ramifications for American democracy, is being awaited anxiously.
Liberals, of course, are holding out hope that the conservative majority Supreme Court will uphold the decision – under the guise that Donald Trump is a danger to democracy.
But nothing, in my view, that Trump has ever done or said, is as dangerous to democracy as removing Trump from the democratic process entirely, for insurrection, a crime that Trump has never been convicted of.
Could Donald Trump be removed from the ballot?
Technically, yes, Trump could be removed from the ballot. Actually, the Colorado Supreme Court has already ruled to remove Trump from the Colorado ballot – so, the Supreme Court decision would need to put Trump back on the ballot.
At least with respect to Colorado. But if Colorado’s bid to block Trump from the ballot passes muster with the highest federal court, expect other states to follow suit, and bar the divisive Trump from their own ballots.
Yet, the likelihood that the Supreme Court affirms the Colorado court’s decision is low; most legal observers do not expect the Supreme Court to uphold Colorado’s decision. Rather, an overturn is expected, leading to Trump’s reinstatement on the ballot.
Here’s POLITICO with the prevailing theory on how the case will be resolved:
“The most common view is that the justices, or at least the conservative majority, hate this case and are enormously uncomfortable with having to decide such a politically fraught issue as whether or not the likely Republican nominee is eligible to hold office,” POLITICO reported. “It then follows that they will strive to craft the narrowest possible decision, one that preserves the status quo (Trump can run) without making any groundbreaking precedents.”
Well, the court should feel uncomfortable about their decision. The Supreme Court consists of nine unelected individuals (who have remarkably homogenous backgrounds) who should not be used as a substitute for the democratic process.
Rather, the judges should decide the case purely on the merits of the legal issue at hand, which include: “1. Does the insurrection clause apply to Trump? 2. Was Jan. 6 an insurrection? 3. Did Trump “engage” in insurrection? 4. Does Congress need to pass a law to define who is disqualified from office under the 14th Amendment? 5. Does knocking Trump off the ballot abridge free speech? 6. Was the 14th Amendment really only about the Civil War?”
The merits of the case should be the primary thing that the Supreme Court’s decision is based upon. Of course, cynics are predicting that the conservative majority will make a Trump-aligned political decision – and are likely to dismiss a decision to overturn as political.
But on the merits of the case, listed above, the Colorado decision is unlikely to stand. Nor should it. I don’t want Trump to be president again either. But defeating Trump needs to be done the right way. The democratic way. Removing Trump from the ballot would invalidate the election – and invalidate American democracy.
About the Author
Harrison Kass is a defense and national security writer with over 1,000 total pieces on issues involving global affairs. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.
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