The Supreme Court could have the final word on the validity of 14th Amendment arguments for removing Trump from the 2024 ballot, legal experts on both sides of the debate told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Since the left-leaning group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed its lawsuit seeking to remove Trump from the ballot in Colorado on Sept. 6, cases have been filed in Minnesota, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, among other states. With these and other efforts underway, legal experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the Supreme Court will likely have to settle whether Trump should be removed from the ballot under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which bars certain government officials who took an oath to the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.
“If a Secretary of State disqualifies Trump from the ballot, then Trump and his campaign will have standing to sue and if the lower courts rule against Trump, then the case will most certainly end up in the Supreme Court on an appeal,” Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “For a number of constitutional and procedural reasons, the Court is almost certain to rule in Trump’s favor.”
In Maryland, Secretary of State Susan Lee expressed that she would consider removing Trump’s name from the ballot, according to The Daily Record. The Office of the Secretary of State is responsible for determining which names appear on the presidential ballot in Maryland.
Democratic members of the California state legislature asked Attorney General Rob Bonta over the weekend to use his standing to expedite a state court decision on the issue, calling for “immediate intervention.”
Meanwhile, other left-leaning groups backed by Democrat-aligned donors have related efforts underway, such as a campaign launched by the Free Speech for People and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund urging top state election officials to remove Trump from the ballot. Free Speech for People is also behind the lawsuit in Minnesota.
George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin, who believes there is a strong “though not indisputable” case for disqualifying Trump, told the Daily Caller News Foundation there’s a real chance the issue could come before the high court.
“The issue could well end up in the Supreme Court, especially if at least some lower courts rule in favor of disqualification,” he said. “The Court may not want a situation where Trump is disqualified in some states, but not others.”
Notre Dame Law School Professor and election law expert Derek Muller similarly said that the Supreme Court would likely weigh in to “give some clarity and potential uniformity” if Trump is removed from the ballot in at least one state.
“It’s a distinct possibility that he’s removed from the ballot in at least one state, which may force the Supreme Court to consider the case,” Muller told the DCNF. “There is still a lot of uncertainty about how this will play out over the next several months.”
Von Spakovsky noted that the issue may have already made it to the Supreme Court. An individual who launched a campaign to be the Republican 2024 presidential nominee, John Anthony Castro, filed a petition with the Supreme Court in August after his Florida lawsuit claiming Trump should be removed under the 14th Amendment was dismissed due to lack of standing.
“The lower courts ruled that Castro doesn’t have standing to raise such a claim, but we don’t know if the Court will take up the case,” von Spakovsky explained.
Anthony is now asking the Court to consider whether a candidate for political office has standing to challenge the eligibility of another candidate running against him in a party primary. He’s filed lawsuits in at least 14 states, according to Newsweek.
The justices will consider taking Anthony’s case during their long conference on Sept. 26, according to the docket.
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.