The US Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear Donald Trump’s appeal of a ruling by Colorado’s highest court that would keep him off the presidential primary ballot in the western state.
The conservative-majority Supreme Court, which includes three justices appointed by the former president, said it would hear oral arguments in the high-stakes election case on February 8.
The Colorado Supreme Court barred Trump last month from appearing on the Republican presidential primary ballot in the state because of his role in the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol by his supporters.
Lawyers for Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, urged the US Supreme Court earlier this week to hear the case and “summarily reverse the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling.”
They said the Colorado ruling, “if allowed to stand, will mark the first time in the history of the United States that the judiciary has prevented voters from casting ballots for the leading major-party presidential candidate.
“The question of eligibility to serve as President of the United States is properly reserved for Congress, not the state courts, to consider and decide,” they added.
The 77-year-old Trump has also lodged an appeal against a ruling by the top election official in Maine that would keep him off the primary ballot in the northeastern state.
Trump’s attorneys urged the Maine Superior Court to toss out the ruling by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, calling her a “biased decision-maker” who “acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner.”
The Colorado Supreme Court and Maine secretary of state both ruled that Trump is ineligible to appear on the primary ballot because of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.
Section Three of the 14th Amendment bars people from holding public office if they engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” after once pledging to support and defend the Constitution.
The amendment, ratified in 1868 after the US Civil War, was aimed at preventing supporters of the slave-holding Confederacy from being elected to Congress or from holding federal positions.
Similar 14th Amendment challenges to Trump’s eligibility have been filed in other states as well. Courts in Minnesota and Michigan recently ruled that Trump should stay on the ballot in those states.
Separately, the twice-impeached former president is scheduled to go on trial in Washington in March for conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election won by Democrat Joe Biden.
He also faces racketeering charges in Georgia for allegedly conspiring to upend the election results in the southern state.
Maine and Colorado hold their presidential nominating contests on March 5 — also known as “Super Tuesday” — when voters in more than a dozen states, including California and Texas, go to the polls.