Opinion: The Supreme Court should uphold the law and prevent Trump from appearing on the 2024 ballot

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to determine whether Colorado has the right to prevent Donald Trump from appearing on its primary ballot due to his involvement in an insurrection, as outlined in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Should the court rule in favor of Trump, it would raise concerns about the potential politicization of the court in favor of Republican ideology and Republican candidates.

If Trump does become president again, Republican ideology — indeed, any ideology — will undergo a significant transformation.

The Republican ideology does not include this agenda. It is possible that Trump’s rhetoric is just empty talk. However, the Supreme Court of the United States cannot afford to take that risk.

Justice Samuel Alito emphasized the importance of not letting external factors influence our decisions in the case of overturning Roe v. Wade. He specifically mentioned the concern of violent protests and attacks on anti-Trump individuals. However, this concern has become less prominent now, as President Trump’s ability to incite violence has significantly diminished. The fear of arrest and the realization that their hero may not come to their rescue has made his supporters more cautious. In recent pro-Trump protests, journalists have been more numerous than the actual participants.

In recent years, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has taken into account the potential negative outcomes of its decisions, despite its previous stance that “consequences cannot change our understanding of the law.” This shift in approach has resulted in a dozen opinions being issued by the court, highlighting the importance of considering the possible repercussions of legal rulings.

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Barring Trump from running would yield significant benefits in this case. It would effectively eradicate the severe divisiveness and grave threat to our democracy that we have witnessed since the Civil War. Moreover, such a decision by the Supreme Court would serve as a powerful illustration of their independence from political influences.

Five out of the nine justices on the court openly identify as “originalists”. However, they have faced criticism for straying from originalism in their decisions on issues like abortion, religion, and gun rights. These criticisms are particularly significant given that conservative justices value their commitment to upholding the original intent of the Constitution.

Former Justice Antonin Scalia maintained that the Constitution should be interpreted based on its original meaning at the time of adoption, rather than what society or the court believes it should mean today. He held the view that the Constitution is a fixed document and its interpretation should remain constant. However, Justice Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts recognize that the Constitution’s original values are timeless, but they can be adapted to accommodate societal changes as they occur. They believe that the Constitution should be a living document that evolves with the times.

Taking into account the potential repercussions of their decision and a thorough analysis based on originalist principles, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) holds the power and responsibility to disqualify Donald Trump from running for office.

Trump’s lawyers contend that the initiatives to prevent him from running for office present a risk of depriving a significant number of American voters of their right to vote. However, the framers of the 14th Amendment specifically designed Section 3 to disregard votes cast in support of individuals involved in insurrection.

Section 3 came about as a result of an effort to illegally place Confederate candidates in Congress, a scheme that was ultimately foiled, much like Trump’s endeavor to replace a legitimately elected president with an unelected one. It is important to note that Section 3 did not become obsolete after the end of the Confederacy. All officials who are bound by an oath to uphold the Constitution, as mandated by Article VI, must still adhere to its provisions. If they incite insurrection, they are disqualified from holding office.

During Reconstruction, one of the major challenges was the preservation of national unity. Today, our focus has shifted to safeguarding our democracy, an objective that President Trump aims to undermine.

Trump’s lawyers have issued a warning, stating that if Colorado’s decision to exclude him from the presidential race is upheld, it will lead to a state of chaos and bedlam. They argue that this is because different candidates will be allowed on different state ballots. However, it is important to consider that preventing Trump from assuming the presidency would actually help avert chaos.

The Colorado Supreme Court and the state’s highest court have both determined that Trump is an insurrectionist. The Colorado appellate judge also agreed, although they allowed him to be on the ballot, citing uncertainty about whether the president is considered an “officer” under Section 3. According to SCOTUS, federal courts generally accept state court’s factual findings as presumptive unless they are clearly erroneous. Therefore, there is no need for SCOTUS to review Colorado’s determination that Trump is an insurrectionist.

Trump’s lawyers are arguing that Section 3 of the United States Constitution does not apply to Trump because they believe that the presidency is not considered an “office” of the United States. Essentially, they are suggesting that the drafters of Section 3 intended to allow someone who incites insurrection to hold the highest and most influential office in the country, but not any lower offices. This argument is completely absurd and lacks any logical basis.

The presidency is an undeniably important position in the United States. According to Section 2 of Article II of the Constitution, it states that the President of the United States “shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years.” Additionally, Article II, Section I mandates the president to “solemnly swear I will faithfully execute the Office of President.”

Disqualifications from office under Section 3 are automatically enforced and do not require a judicial decision. This is why no Confederate leader who was disqualified under Section 3 was ever charged or tried for insurrection or any other violation of Section 3. Confederate leader Jefferson Davis even asserted that Section 3 was self-executing, using it as a tactic to avoid facing criminal prosecution for treason, as that would constitute double jeopardy.

Disqualifying Trump from office will not undermine Congress’s authority to remove ineligible individuals from office under Section 3. Even after a judicial determination of ineligibility, Congress has the power to take such action. SCOTUS has the constitutional right and ample justification, both in terms of legal grounds and the potential consequences of its decision, to prevent Trump from assuming the presidency.

Neil Baron, a highly skilled attorney, has provided legal representation to numerous institutions operating in international markets. Additionally, he has provided valuable advice and guidance to various sectors of the federal government on matters pertaining to the economy.

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