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Supreme Court Clears Trump for Colorado Ballot, Affirms Presidential Eligibility Nationwide

Donald Trump Photo by Gage Skidmore

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for Donald Trump to appear on Colorado’s Republican presidential primary ballot, overturning a previous decision by Colorado’s Supreme Court. This state court had ruled against Trump’s candidacy, citing his involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot as insurrection. However, the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling emphasized that states lack the constitutional authority to enforce the disqualification of candidates from federal office, including the presidency, on these grounds, according to reporting by CNBC.

This decision has wider implications, indicating that no state can use the Constitution’s insurrection clause to block Trump—or any other candidate—from presidential ballots. The court’s stance was somewhat anticipated, given the skepticism many justices expressed during the oral arguments about Colorado’s ability to determine presidential eligibility.

The ruling directly impacts Trump, the Republican frontrunner, ensuring that votes cast for him in upcoming primaries are valid. It also affects similar decisions in Maine and Illinois, which had barred Trump from their ballots based on the same constitutional interpretation. These actions are now nullified by the Supreme Court’s decision.

The controversy centers on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars individuals who have engaged in insurrection against the United States from holding office. Despite a Denver District Court judge’s November ruling that Trump could be on Colorado’s ballot—despite believing he had incited the Capitol riot—the Colorado Supreme Court had found “significant evidence” of Trump’s engagement in insurrection, leading to their initial disqualification decision.

The Supreme Court’s ruling not only reinstates Trump on the ballot but also sets a precedent on the application of the Constitution’s insurrection clause, emphasizing the federal nature of presidential elections over state interpretations.