Former President Donald Trump has been kicked off the ballot in both Maine and Colorado.

Former President Donald Trump has been kicked off the ballot in both Maine and Colorado.

Those unprecedented rulings are on hold for now, with Trump’s legal team indicating he plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At issue is whether Trump is disqualified from making another presidential run under the 14th Amendment due to engaging in insurrection.

“From a strictly legal perspective, if we’re just looking at the meaning of the 14th Amendment, section three, I think the Colorado Supreme Court and the Maine Secretary of State have a very strong case that Trump is not qualified to run for president,” said David Franklin, law professor and constitutional specialist at DePaul University. “Do I think it’s an absolute slam dunk open and shut case? No. I think the legal arguments in support of disqualification are strong but that doesn’t end the conversation.”

Franklin, who served as Illinois solicitor general from 2016 to 2019, says the Supreme Court must also weigh whether “to allow a state official or a state court or ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court to deprive tens of billions of Americans of the ability to vote for the candidate that they prefer for president. That’s an enormous step for a court to take.”

Despite believing Maine and Colorado may have compelling reasons to disqualify Trump, Franklin says he believes the Supreme Court will be very reluctant to keep the former president off the ballot.

“It’s frankly impossible for me to imagine the Supreme Court allowing Trump to be struck from the ballot,” said Franklin. “I think they will reverse what Colorado and Maine have done. The only question is on what basis they will do so. And I think there are a range of possibilities there.”

Franklin also thinks Chief Justice John Roberts will be keen for the court to rule unanimously on this issue to avoid the appearance of partisanship.

“John Roberts, of all people, is very aware that it would be a bad look for the court if it were not unanimous or at least it would be a very bad look for the court if the six conservatives were on one side and the three liberals were on the other,” said Franklin.

Harold Krent, constitutional specialist and law professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, expects the Supreme Court to take the case on an expedited basis.

“I think that they are likely to take the case though they probably don’t want to,” said Krent. “I think they will find a way to ensure that Trump remains on the ballot, but they won’t decide on whether or not he committed insurrection.”

Krent says he expects the court to find reasons of process to reverse Trump’s ballot ban.

“My guess would be that they find that that there is insufficient process that was undertaken in both Colorado and Maine to determine that he in fact committed insurrection,” said Krent. “We need to have some kind of adjudication with safeguards as to whether someone committed an insurrection before they’re kicked off the ballot. It was kind of easy after the Civil War, someone served in the Confederate Army or served in Confederate office, they have records. There wasn’t any kind of doubt, but now we’re in this age where how do you figure out whether somebody committed an insurrection? That’s such a slippery process. It can be so easily politicized.”

While both Franklin and Krent ultimately expect the Supreme Court to keep Trump’s name on the ballot, it is possible the court could rule against Trump.


“I think that’s a possibility. I think it’s remote,” said Krent. “But this is tough because I think this whole idea of being kicked off the ballot politically plays into Trump’s narrative. And I think the Supreme Court is well aware of that.”

Washington — A group of Colorado voters who are seeking to keep former President Donald Trump off the state’s Republican primary ballot have called for the Supreme Court to step in and decide whether he is constitutionally eligible for the presidency.

In a filing with the justices Tuesday, lawyers for the four Republican and two unaffiliated voters said the case before the nation’s highest court is of the “utmost importance.” They said the issue warrants quick action so the question of whether Trump is disqualified under a 155-year-old constitutional provision is decided when they cast their primary ballots.

The voters urged the Supreme Court to take up an appeal from the Colorado Republican Party, but asked the justices to decide only whether the Constitution’s so-called insurrection clause covers former presidents and whether states have the authority to enforce the provision absent federal legislation.

“This court’s settled precedent holds that the Constitution provides no right to confuse voters and clutter the ballot with candidates who are not eligible to hold the office they seek,” they argued.

Colorado Republicans’ appeal
The Colorado GOP asked the Supreme Court last week to review the Dec. 19 ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court, which divided 4-3 in finding that Trump is disqualified from holding public office due to his conduct surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.

The state’s high court put its decision on hold until Jan. 4 to allow Trump or the Colorado GOP to seek review from the Supreme Court. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold confirmed last week that the state Republican Party’s appeal means that Trump will be listed as a candidate on the state’s primary ballot unless the justices decline to hear the case or uphold the lower court’s ruling.

The landmark decision from the Colorado Supreme Court marked the first time a presidential candidate has been deemed ineligible for the White House under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The state court is the only so far to bar Trump from appearing on the presidential primary ballot, though legal challenges to his candidacy have been brought in more than two dozen states.

Trump harshly criticized the Colorado court’s ruling, saying last week that “the Colorado people have embarrassed our nation with what they did.” He has denied any wrongdoing.

On Thursday, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, found that Trump is disqualified from holding office again because of his actions related to the Jan. 6 riot. Bellows is the first state election official to find Trump should be removed from the primary ballot, though she suspended the effect of her decision to allow the former president to appeal in state court.

In the filing to the Supreme Court, the six voters said though the decision from the Colorado court was “correct,” the case raises an important question of federal law that should be settled by the nation’s highest court.

“Whether the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits a former President (and current presidential primary front-runner) who engaged in insurrection against the Constitution from holding office again is a question of paramount national importance. Because 2024 presidential primary elections are imminent, there is no time or need to let these issues percolate further,” they argued.

The Coloradans said that if the Supreme Court does not step in now, there is a risk that millions of voters will cast their ballots for Trump in states where his name is listed on the primary ballot, only to later learn he is disqualified.

They reiterated their request that the justices announce whether to intervene by Friday and, if they agree to hear the case, issue their ruling on the merits by Feb. 11. Colorado’s Republican primary is scheduled for March 5.

In a separate filing, Colorado Attorney General Philip Weiser urged the court to speed up its consideration of the case “given the significance of the issues presented and Colorado’s impending election deadlines.” He said Griswold, like the group of Colorado voters, supports the Supreme Court addressing the scope of Section 3 and whether it applies to former presidents, as well as whether states have the authority to enforce the measure.


“[E]xpedited resolution of this case will ensure that Colorado voters cast ballots in the presidential primary election knowing whether Trump is qualified to serve as president,” Weiser wrote. “Providing this certainty is important both for the candidates in Colorado’s Republican primary and, most importantly, for the millions of Republican and unaffiliated voters in Colorado who will be casting ballots in that election.”

DENVER (AP) — Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday is expected to appeal rulings from Colorado and Maine that ban him from the states’ ballots, setting up a high-stakes showdown over a 155-year-old addition to the Constitution that bars from office those who “engaged in insurrection.”

Trump would appeal the Colorado Supreme Court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court and the decision by Maine’s Democratic secretary of state to that state’s Superior Court.

It would mark the first time the nation’s highest court could rule on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, two sentences added to the Constitution after the Civil War to prevent Confederates from returning to their former government offices. The clause says that anyone who swore an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it is no longer eligible.

The appeals come as tensions mount over rulings that could keep the 2024 Republican presidential front-runner off ballots, though both the Maine and Colorado rulings are on hold until the appeals end, and Trump technically remains on the primary ballots in both states.

On Tuesday morning, Denver police arrested a man who fled a car crash and ran into the Colorado Supreme Court building. Police said he pointed a gun at an unarmed security officer, getting the guard’s keys and access to the whole building, and fired his gun several times. No one was injured.

A motive wasn’t immediately clear, but the Colorado State Patrol said the shooting didn’t appear to be related to previous threats to the justices, all of whom were appointed by Democratic governors.

Dozens of lawsuits citing the constitutional provision were filed against Trump last year in a bid to end his presidential campaign, contending he disqualified himself by inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Democrat Joe Biden from replacing him as president.

WATCH: Biden responds to Colorado court ruling, says ‘self-evident’ Trump supported ‘insurrection’

None of the lawsuits succeeded until the Colorado court’s ruling last month. Activists similarly asked dozens of top election officials to not place Trump on the ballot due to his alleged violation of Section 3. None acted until Maine’s Shenna Bellows barred him a week after the Colorado ruling.

If the Supreme Court does not rule on the merits of the cases, legal experts say, states could face the legal chaos that the high court is supposed to dispel.

Advocates of disqualifying Trump argue the matter is simple — Section 3 makes him no longer eligible for the presidency, just as if he somehow didn’t meet other constitutional requirements, such as being a natural-born citizen at least 35 years old.

Trump’s attorneys contend that’s a wild misreading of a vague clause that was rarely used after the 1870s. They contend that Jan. 6 was not legally an insurrection, that the provision doesn’t apply to the president and that whether Trump qualifies for the ballot is not a decision for unelected state judges to make.