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Trump and the Battle Over the 2024 Presidential Ballot

February 05, 2024

Kermit Roosevelt
Kermit Roosevelt

In an amicus, Prof. Kermit Roosevelt argues that the U.S. Supreme Court should affirm the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision that keeps Trump off the presidential ballot.

Kermit Roosevelt, David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice at University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, has filed an amicus brief in Trump v. Anderson, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 presidential ballot.

The case hinges on the interpretation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which provides that no one shall hold federal or state office if the person had previously sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution as a “member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States” but then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the federal government.

The Colorado Supreme court ruled that Trump is ineligible to be president under Section 3 for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol; Trump appealed the ruling.

In his amicus urging the Court to affirm the Colorado Supreme Court decision, Roosevelt argues that the proper way to analyze the case is through asking “a series of ordinary legal questions.”

From Roosevelt’s brief:

Does Section Three have legal effect in the absence of federal legislation? Can a state court recognize the effect of Section Three by determining whether a candidate is qualified to hold the office they seek? Does Colorado election law provide a vehicle to make that determination? Does that vehicle comply with the federal constitution?

The answer to each of these questions is yes, and this Court should hold that the issue of President Trump’s eligibility was properly before the Colorado courts. Weighing the consequences of disqualification is not the role of a court, especially where, as here, the Constitution explicitly remits that issue to the political process.

The Court’s ruling could affect Trump’s inclusion on other states’ ballots, too, as challenges to his eligibility is pending in several other states.

The Court will hear oral arguments in Trump v. Anderson on Thursday, Feb. 8.

Read Roosevelt’s full brief.