Barrett, 3 Liberals Disagreed With Part of Trump Ruling

She noted that SCOTUS hadn't been asked to address role of legislation in enforcing insurrection clause
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2024 1:23 PM CST
4 Justices Disagreed With One Part of Trump Ruling
Donald Trump speaks at his Mar-a-Lago estate, Monday, March 4, 2024.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that Colorado can't kick Donald Trump off the ballot—but the court split 5-4 on one part of the ruling, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett siding with the court's three liberal justices. The court did not address whether Trump had violated the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment, but said only Congress, not states, could use the clause to ban candidates from ballots. Barrett and the three liberal justices said the other five, all conservatives, had gone too far by saying the amendment could only be enforced through federal legislation, the Hill reports.

Barrett noted that the suit was brought by "Colorado voters under state law in state court" and it did not require the court to address the "complicated question" of whether the clause can only be enforced by Congress. But while she agreed with the liberal justices on that point, ABC News suggests that she faulted the tone of their concurring opinion. "The majority's choice of a different path leaves the remaining Justices with a choice of how to respond," she wrote. "The Court has settled a politically charged issue in the volatile season of a Presidential election. Particularly in this circumstance, writings on the Court should turn the national temperature down, not up."

UCLA law professor Rick Hasen, who co-wrote a brief to the court, warned that the decision leaves enough uncertainty for there to be a possible constitutional crisis after the election, the AP reports. "We may well have a nasty, nasty post-election period in which Congress tries to disqualify Trump but the Supreme Court says Congress exceeded its power," he wrote.

  • At a press conference at Mar-a-Lago, Trump delivered what the Guardian calls a "meandering" press conference in which he praised the ruling while denouncing the other cases against him. The top court's decision, he said, was "very well crafted. And I think it will go a long way toward bringing our country together, which our country needs."
(More Election 2024 stories.)

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