Trump’s Supreme Court Victory

Jeb Allen ’27 examines the recent Supreme Court ruling that decided Donald Trump can appear on state ballots.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of former President Donald Trump in the case Trump v. Anderson, dismissing a challenge from Colorado to bar him from running under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court’s decision was unanimous, which alleviated concerns of political partisanship by the justices on both sides of the aisle. While the judges had differing opinions about the decision’s extent, they all agreed that the amendment’s intent was for Congress, not the individual states, to judge whether or not an insurrectionist could run for office. This ruling is an enormous win for Trump; a 9-0 decision not only ensures that no state can bar him from the ballot but also allows him to create political momentum by portraying his circumstances as a witch hunt.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was enacted after the Civil War with the intent to bar Confederate generals and politicians from attempting to take control by running for office. It reads, “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or 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 against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

While all disqualifications and appeals will be voided, formal challenges were filed in 36 states with Colorado, Illinois, and Maine being the three states where judges ruled to disqualify Trump from running.

No judge took a stance on whether Trump engaged in insurrection, but all agreed that only Congress can bar an individual from office. In their decision, the judges stated, “We conclude that States may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office. But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency.”

It’s crucial to understand that, in this ruling, the Supreme Court only decided whether individual states could bar Trump from the ballot, not if he is guilty of insurrection. As previously agreed, the Supreme Court will have the final say on whether Trump is immune from prosecution over Jan. 6, but as of now, Trump will remain on the ballot in all 50 states.

In a desperate attempt to curb Trump’s momentum, rogue judges recently allowed for a substantial political opportunity: giving Trump “rat poison.” The term, coined by the University of Alabama’s former head coach Nick Saban, refers to using criticism or wrongdoings by another team or media outlet to invigorate one’s team. Similarly, Trump is adept at manipulating events to his advantage, spinning narratives that the world is out to get him.

Despite facing criticism over the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit and a civil fraud case resulting in a $355 million fine, Trump has his highest favorability ratings since Jan. 6. While these lawsuits have been significant financial blows, they have helped Trump spin his narrative that the federal government is conspiring against him and that all his attacks are politically motivated.

Especially significant is the fact that the more liberal justices agreed that states had no right to intervene in a national election, allowing Trump to fuel his narrative and continue his unlikely bounce back. If Biden wants any chance of winning, he needs to emphasize Trump’s radical comments and wrongdoings instead of giving him any more rat poison.