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The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

Trump’s eligibility to be a presidential candidate is being called into question: What it means for this year’s election

Donald Trump, in court for his New York criminal trial. The trial is over many different indictments, most pertinent of which include hush money payments and concealing of damaging information in relation to his businesses.

Recently, in the states of Colorado and Maine, Donald Trump has been removed from the ballots. The same issue has also been taken to the Supreme Court. This is due to the argument that he participated in inciting the January 6th riots, which was an act of attempted insurrection (a violent uprising against an authority or government). 

The first court to hear the case was in Maine, where the Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows, released a ruling document on Dec. 28. 

The main basis of the argument was under Section Three of the 14th Amendment “No person shall… hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion… But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.” This is in relation to the January 6th Capitol Riot, where protestors stormed into the capital to stop the election results from being finalized.

Trump argued that only Congress can block him from the ballots, that he himself did not participate in the insurrection, and that the presidency is not technically an “office under the United States.” Bellows shot down all of these points.

Judging by his actions towards the mob and his words on Twitter, she determined that he promoted it. This, she says, qualifies as engaging in it. She also said that in many instances within the Constitution, the presidency is referred to as an “office under the United States,” further invalidating Trump’s claims. Finally, she decided that states can establish a process to exclude ineligible candidates, as long as that process matches the parameters set by the Constitution.

With all of this decided, she barred Trump from the ballots.

In Colorado, things proceeded in a similar way. However, the Secretary of State, Jena Griswold, said that she would need explicit permission from the Supreme Court to be able to enforce Trump’s removal from the ballots. Trump appealed to the Supreme Court, resulting in the case being taken directly to the Supreme Court. This put all secretaries’ decisions on hold.

It is important to note that in the states of Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Washington, it was ruled either Trump was eligible to be on the ballots, or that they couldn’t rule due to the Supreme Court needing to give them explicit permission. These rulings are all on hold until the case in the Supreme Court is resolved.

Due to Trump’s appeal to the Supreme Court, the case that they will be hearing will be the same one brought to Colorado’s court; Trump is ineligible to participate in the election due to his engagement and inciting of the January 6th riots. 

The case will contain the same arguments as the Colorado case. However, this will be before the nine Supreme Court Justices instead of the Colorado state court. The fact that the case only formally involves Colorado could mean that the ruling would only apply to that state. However, this is up to the court’s discretion, and the ruling may apply to the United States as a whole.

This court case has the potential to decide the course of the 2024 election. With the amount of widespread support Trump has throughout the country, it’s possible he could win the election despite all the legal trouble he’s dealing with.

The Supreme Court began hearing the Trump v. Anderson case on Feb. 8th. 

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