Supreme Court Should Hear Trump's Case, Overrule Colo. Court Barring Him from Primary: 27 State AGs File Brief

Craig Bannister | January 5, 2024
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UPDATE: On Friday, the Supreme Court has reportedly agreed to hear former Pres. Donald Trump's case challenging the Colorado high court's decision removing him the the primary ballot. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin on February 8, 2024.

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Attorneys general from 27 states have filed a brief with the Supreme Court, urging it to take up former President Donald Trump’s petition asking the high court to hear, and overturn, the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling ousting Trump from a presidential primary in the state.

In the brief, the AGs argue that the Colorado court’s decision to dilute former President Trump’s votes in the upcoming election cannot stand for several reasons. Citing legal precedent, they provide three main reasons for granting Trump’s petition:

  1. To avoid the chaos that the Colorado decision will produce:

“This Court’s immediate intervention is required. The Colorado court’s decision will create widespread chaos. Most obviously, it casts confusion into an election cycle that is just weeks away. Beyond that, it upsets the respective roles of the Congress, the States, and the courts.”

“It threatens to throw the 2024 presidential election into chaos. Yet courts are supposed to give ‘a due regard for the public interest in orderly elections.’”

  1. To return power to Congress, where it belongs:

“The Court should grant the Petition to return power to Congress—where it belongs: The state court took on a question that the Constitution says belongs to Congress. Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment is not self-executing. And the court purported to decide what events might constitute an ‘insurrection’ even though the definition rests on a series of purely political judgments—not legal ones.”

  1. To erase a standardless political judgment about what constitutes “insurrection”:

“In deciding that former President Trump engaged in insurrection, the Colorado court fashioned a definition of ‘insurrection’ that is standardless and vague. The best available evidence suggests that insurrection equates with rebellion—a more demanding standard than the Colorado Court settled on. But what constitutes insurrection is not a question courts should answer at all.”

Additionally, the brief suggests that the Colorado court denied Trump his right to due process under the law:

“The Colorado courts decided ‘complicated’ constitutional questions through a truncated state process that denied former President Trump any opportunity for ‘basic discovery, the ability to subpoena documents and compel witnesses, workable timeframes to adequately investigate and develop defenses, and the opportunity for a fair trial.’”

The brief warns that the Colorado court’s decision, if not reversed, will have dire consequences for the nation beyond those in the current election cycle, as voter confidence will be harmed and the 50 states will each be able to apply different standards.

“American voters choose the President, not a partisan court in Colorado,” Indiana Attorney General Rokita said,” announcing the brief’s filing. “This is an obvious attempt to confuse and disenfranchise millions of voters wanting to cast their ballots for former President Donald Trump.” 

“If activist judges in Colorado can dilute the voices of ordinary voters in states like Indiana, all confidence in our election process will be lost,” AG Rokita added.

Read the brief and view list of signatories.

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