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Ballots dump trump

By Adrian Tomaszewski Feb. 14, 2024

Caitlynn Sue Art

In yet another similarity to a hot dog, Trump is in hot water yet again. Following his four indictments over the past two years, he is now facing potential disqualification from the primary elections in two states: Colorado and Maine. The decisions, formalized on Dec. 19 and Jan. 2, respectively, are both currently on hold until the Supreme Court decides on the case, now called Trump v. Anderson, the hearing for which was fast-tracked to Feb. 8 in order to accommodate the incredibly time-sensitive matter.

The proceedings largely stem from President Trump’s involvement in the January 6th riots following his “Save America” rally. Whether Trump is responsible for the violence is a key question for the proceedings; while Trump’s comments were likely not meant to call for literal violence, the Colorado Supreme Court ultimately found that these and other remarks incited the insurrection that followed.

The Colorado Supreme Court therefore ruled that Trump should be barred from participating in the Colorado primary because he violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution; the section, passed to prevent former rebel Confederates from holding office, prohibits any civil servant, having previously taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and who has since engaged in insurrection or given aid to enemies from holding office. Notably, the section doesn’t specifically list the president as one of the offices barred. Based on this fact, the lower Colorado court ruled that Trump was allowed to participate in the election. However, the state Supreme Court disagreed, stating that it was obvious that the presidency was also intended to be limited by the Amendment. Maine’s Secretary of State agreed with this assertion and followed in Colorado’s wake.

“There is a mix between the rulings being in good faith and politically motivated. Trump did have an involvement in the events of Jan. 6, but the the degree to which that involvement incited the insurrection is not very clear. The Colorado judges have a political bias, but the ruling may also be necessary to preserve the democracy in our country,” Junior Gaurav Rao said.

Immediately, the Colorado decision was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which is scheduled to first hear oral arguments on Feb. 8. Trump’s legal counsel is expected to argue three main points. First is that Trump never directly instigated the insurrection through his speech. Second is that Trump, as a former president, is protected from criminal prosecution as an extension of precedent set in Nixon v. Fitzgerald, which ruled that a president is protected against civil suits from actions taken while in office. This would then mean that Trump could only be convicted if the Senate convicted him, which it did not. Third and last is that the 14th Amendment never mentions the office of the president directly. [UP TO DATE INFO] The decision in Maine has similarly been appealed to the state courts but will likely be decided instead by the result of the Colorado decision in the Supreme Court.

While these decisions do not bar Trump from the presidential ballot—only from running as a Republican candidate in the primaries, the elections that parties use to decide which candidate to field in the actual presidential race—they can later be used as precedent to justify a similar removal in the general election. Trump can run as an independent to circumvent a primary restriction, this cannot be used to evade a general election restriction. Though Trump is currently the clear frontrunner for the Republican Party ticket and current favorite for the presidency, much can change as the year progresses. Additionally, both Colorado’s and Maine’s primaries occur on Super Tuesday— by which point the candidates are usually decided—so the Supreme Court ruling is unlikely to have a significant effect on the outcome of the primary race nationwide. However, the decisions could discourage even more independents from considering a vote for Trump or further solidify Trump’s supporters' prefabricated beliefs that the “deep state” is out to get him.

Because Maine’s Secretary of State is a Democrat and Colorado’s Supreme Court is dominated by Democrats, their rulings have been heavily scrutinized by the Republican Party as well as some independent observers as politically motivated. The Supreme Court ruling also may not be untouched by politics. Donald Trump nominated three of the court’s judges during his presidency, leading to a 6-3 conservative-liberal split, almost surely guaranteeing Trump’s victory before the case is even heard

Caitlynn Sue Art

Many political commentators’ partisan suspicions have been exacerbated by the fact that while Democrat- controlled Colorado and Maine courts blocked Trump, the nonpartisan judge in Michigan wrote that Trump followed state law in qualifying for the primary ballot, and thus he could not be removed by any authority except Congress.

“I want to vote in the primaries because I pride myself in being a socially and politically involved citizen in my community. I believe that we all need to stand out and show our support for our democracy in the face of politically transformative events like the Colorado ruling through voting,” Senior Eshan Velidandla said.

Indeed, various prominent conservatives have argued that the Trump ruling could set a precedent for the disqualification of current Vice President Kamala Harris, who raised money for various arrested “insurrectionist” Black Lives Matter rioters—an action that can be argued to be similar to those of past politicians who donated to individual Confederates. With these electoral disqualifications of Trump and threats of disqualifications of Harris, it appears as if both parties will do anything to win an evermore polarized America.


About the Contributors

Adrian Tomaszewski

staff writer

Adrian Tomaszewski is a junior at Leland High School and is a staff writer for the Charger Account. During his free time, he enjoys swimming, cooking, listening to music, ranting about politics to unsuspecting victims, and playing video games.

Caitlynn Sue


Caitlynn Sue is a sophmore at Leland High school and an artist for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys drawing, playing violin, and dancing.

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