The United States Supreme Court has granted former President Donald Trump the right to appear on the ballot in Colorado, overturning a prior state order that disqualified him over his alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, according to a report by CNN. 

This ruling comes after months of intense debate surrounding whether Trump violated the “insurrectionist clause” embedded in the 14th Amendment, casting a shadow over his bid for the GOP nomination. The court’s unanimous decision to allow Trump to remain on the ballot marks a significant victory for the former President, eliminating one of the numerous legal challenges that have characterized his ongoing campaign against President Joe Biden. 

However, it is crucial to note that the Supreme Court’s decision does not impact the four ongoing criminal cases Trump faces, including a federal election subversion case covering some of the same conduct associated with the January 6, 2021, incident, as reported by CNN. 

The court, while united in the stance that Trump could not be unilaterally removed from the ballot, exhibited division regarding the broad implications of the decision. A 5-4 majority asserted that no state had the authority to remove a federal candidate from any ballot, with four justices emphasizing the need for a more limited opinion. 

In response to the ruling, Donald Trump expressed his elation, branding it a “big win” for the country in a social media post. “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!” Trump declared. 

On the other hand, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal group that initiated the lawsuit on behalf of Republican voters, criticised the Supreme Court’s decision. Despite acknowledging the dismissal of the insurrection language from Colorado, the group argued that the ruling was “in no way a win for Trump,” as it failed to exonerate him from the events of January 6.

“The Supreme Court had the opportunity in this case to exonerate Trump, and they chose not to do so. Every court – or decision-making body – that has substantively examined the issue has determined that January 6th was an insurrection and that Donald Trump incited it. That remains true today,” the group stated. 

Notably, the Supreme Court’s ruling does not directly address whether Trump’s actions on January 6 qualify as an “insurrection,” avoiding a contentious issue that the Colorado courts had grappled with. 

The five-justice majority, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh, asserted that states cannot disqualify federal officers, especially the president, from the ballot without Congress passing legislation. 

“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,” stated the ruling, as reported by CNN. 

However, four justices dissented on the scope of the decision. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote in a concurring opinion that the majority’s opinion “shuts the door on other potential means of federal enforcement.” 

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, in a separate concurring opinion, emphasized that the case “does not require us to address the complicated question whether federal legislation is the exclusive vehicle through which Section 3 can be enforced.”


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