Trump Appeared to Have a Great Day at Supreme Court

Justices don't sound like they will kick him off the 2024 ballot
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2024 12:20 PM CST
Trump Appeared to Have a Great Day at Supreme Court
Police put a fence outside of the US Supreme Court Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The Supreme Court on Thursday heard arguments on a Donald Trump case with historic implications: Whether he should be disqualified from running for reelection because of his actions related to the 2021 attack on the Capitol. And the gist of coverage is that it seems highly unlikely the court will keep Trump off the 2024 ballot:

  • This sentiment is typical: The court "appeared reluctant to take the extraordinary step of disqualifying former President Trump from appearing on the ballot during a historic oral argument in which the justices grilled lawyers about whether states have the authority to ban a candidate from running for office," per the Hill. (The reference is to Colorado: The justices heard Trump's appeal of a bombshell ruling there that blocked him from the state's ballot as an insurrectionist.)
  • Ditto: Some version of the above sentiment is all over. "In more than two hours of arguments, both conservative and liberal justices raised questions of whether Trump can be disqualified from being president again because of his efforts to undo his loss in the 2020 election," per the AP. The justices spent almost no time debating whether Trump actually engaged in insurrection and focused mostly on the authority of states.

  • Liberals, too: "It's been somewhat surprising to hear that two liberal justices, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, have expressed some skepticism about the argument that Trump should be disqualified," writes Alan Feuer at the New York Times. Kagan, for example, wanted to know "why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States." In the AP's view, only Sonia Sotomayor appeared sympathetic to the case against Trump.
  • Roberts skeptical: Chief Justice John Roberts "made plain that he does not buy the conclusion that the 14th Amendment was meant to permit states to determine whether a candidate was an ineligible insurrectionist," per Politico, suggesting that he tipped his hand, and that of the court's. "The whole point of the 14th Amendment was to restrict state power, right?" he asked.
  • Trump argument: The Colorado decision "is wrong and should be reversed for numerous independent reasons," argued Trump attorney Jonathan Mitchell, per the Wall Street Journal. Affirming the ruling would "take away the votes of potentially tens of millions of Americans," he said, adding that what happened at the Capitol was a "riot," not an "insurrection." Afterward, Trump said from Mar-a-Lago that he thinks his team's argument was "very well received."
  • Now what? The court typically takes three months to issue a ruling, but a much faster resolution is expected given the circumstances—the Times suggests the court may issue its ruling before Super Tuesday on March 5.
(More US Supreme Court stories.)

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