Trump Wins Supreme Court Victory

The U.S. Supreme Court has made a historic ruling, stating that Colorado does not have the authority to disqualify former President Donald Trump from appearing on the 2024 ballot. In a unanimous decision, the Court determined that only Congress can invoke the Fourteenth Amendment’s “Insurrection Clause” to disqualify a candidate.

The Supreme Court’s decision invalidated a prior judgment by the Colorado Supreme Court, which had claimed that a specific clause prevented Trump from seeking the presidency in 2024. This decision overturned the Colorado Supreme Court’s earlier conclusion that Trump did not qualify as an officer of the United States according to the Fourteenth Amendment.

This decision is the first time the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court’s opinion emphasized that the amendment, proposed by Congress in 1866 and ratified by the states in 1868, expanded federal power and altered the balance between state and federal authority.

The Court further explained that Section 3 imposes a severe penalty, disqualification from holding a wide range of offices, on specific individuals rather than granting all rights. Chief Justice Chase, writing for the Court, emphasized the need to determine which individuals are encompassed by the provision and that formal proceedings and enforcement are necessary to achieve this.

The Court highlighted that the Constitution empowers Congress to prescribe the process for making these determinations through Section 5, which allows Congress to pass appropriate legislation to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment, subject to judicial review. The Court noted that Congress had done so through the Enforcement Act of 1870.

The central issue in this case was whether states, in addition to Congress, could enforce Section 3. The Court concluded that states do not have the power to disqualify federal officeholders or candidates, especially for the presidency, as it would undermine the rebalancing of federal and state authority established by the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court also pointed out the lack of historical precedent for state enforcement of Section 3 against federal candidates or officeholders since the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. This absence of tradition raised constitutional concerns regarding the asserted power of the states.

The Court emphasized that allowing state enforcement would create a patchwork of disqualifications, severing the direct link between the National Government and the people of the United States, which the Framers considered crucial.

While concurring with the majority, Justice Barrett stated that the Court went beyond what was necessary to reach its decision. Nevertheless, she emphasized that all nine Justices agreed on the outcome: the message Americans should take home.