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Supreme Court agrees to decide whether Trump can be barred from running for presidency

Donald Trump

US Supreme Court has said it will review the Colorado Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision removing former President Donald Trump from that state’s ballot.

The court on Friday evening, January 5 said it had scheduled oral arguments for February 8.

Trump remains on the primary ballot as the lower-court ruling disqualifying him has been put on hold pending Supreme Court action. If the justices do conclude Trump is ineligible for public office, then any votes cast for him wouldn’t count.

The high court’s decision to hear the case puts the nine justices in center position of the 2024 election as voting starts in the early primary contests and represents the court’s most significant involvement in a presidential race since its highly consequential decision 23 years ago in Bush v. Gore.

Though the Colorado ruling applies only to that state, courts in several other states have also reviewed challenges to Trump’s eligibility, though no such case has made it as far as the one in Colorado, leaving.

Last week, Maine’s secretary of state removed Trump from that state’s 2024 primary ballot, and the former president’s team on Tuesday appealed that decision in state court. The Oregon Supreme Court could also soon rule on a bid to remove Trump from that state’s primary and general election ballots because of his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

Trump’s campaign said it welcomes a “fair hearing” at the Supreme Court over the Colorado ballot challenge.

“The so-called ‘ballot-challenge cases’ are all part of a well-funded effort by left-wing, political activists hell-bent on stopping the lawful reelection of President Trump this November, even if it means disenfranchising voters,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement. “We are confident that the fair-minded Supreme Court will unanimously affirm the civil rights of President Trump, and the voting rights of all Americans.”

Trump appealed the Colorado decision to the US Supreme Court on Wednesday, a week after the state’s Republican Party also asked the justices to hear the case. The stunning 4-3 decision last month said Trump is constitutionally ineligible to run in 2024 because the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists holding office covers his conduct on January 6, 2021.

“In our system of ‘government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people,’ Colorado’s ruling is not and cannot be correct,” attorneys for the former president wrote in their petition to the court.

“The Colorado Supreme Court erred in how it described President Trump’s role in the events of January 6, 2021,” they argued in the filing. “It was not ‘insurrection’ and President Trump in no way ‘engaged’ in ‘insurrection.’”

Trump said Friday night that he hopes the three justices he appointed to the Supreme Court – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – would be “fair.”

“All I want is fair,” Trump said at a campaign event in Sioux Center, Iowa. “I fought really hard to get three very, very good people in. They’re great people, very smart people.”

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