Supreme Court Drops Final Ruling On Trump Ballot Issue

The United States Supreme Court has made a landmark ruling regarding former President Donald J. Trump’s eligibility to run for another term. The court unanimously decided that states cannot bar Mr. Trump from running for president again, dismissing a challenge from Colorado that could potentially remove him from ballots nationwide.

Although the justices provided different justifications for their decision, they all agreed that states cannot prohibit presidential candidates based on a constitutional provision known as Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This provision prohibits individuals who have engaged in insurrection from holding office. The court’s ruling did not take a position on whether Mr. Trump had been involved in an insurrection, as determined by Colorado courts.

While four justices believed that the court’s decision should have ended there, the majority, consisting of five justices, took a more expansive approach. In an unsigned opinion, they stated that Congress must take action to enforce Section 3 and determine who is disqualified under the provision. They emphasized that Congress, not the states, holds the responsibility for implementing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates.

The court’s decision was rushed, just one day before the Super Tuesday primaries in Colorado and nationwide. In a departure from usual protocol, the court did not announce in advance that it would issue an opinion; instead, it posted the decision on its website without taking the bench.

This ruling is the most significant decision by the Supreme Court regarding a presidential election since the famous Bush v. Gore case in 2000. It carries immense implications for future presidential candidates, as it clarifies the parameters set by the 14th Amendment regarding eligibility.

Former President Trump expressed satisfaction with the outcome, noting that the ruling is relevant to him and future presidents. The court’s three liberal members, however, expressed frustration with what they perceived as unnecessary judicial overreach. In a joint concurring opinion, they criticized the majority for attempting to shield the court and Mr. Trump from potential controversies in the future.

Interestingly, an earlier version of the decision indicated a more significant divide between the majority and the liberal justices. A closer examination of the decision’s history suggests that the joint concurring opinion was originally a partial dissent attributed to Justice Sotomayor. This implies that the final product resulted from a compromise, allowing all nine justices to present a united front on a narrower issue. Nevertheless, the liberal justices strongly criticized the breadth of the majority opinion.