UPDATE: Donald Trump said that he “thought that our arguments” were very strong before the Supreme Court, as he held a press conference shortly after oral arguments ended.
He called it a “beautiful process,” clearly pleased with legal analysts’ predictions that the justices were likely to rule in his favor on the question of whether Colorado could exclude him from the state ballot.
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The major cable news networks carried the speech, but CNN and MSNBC broke away as he veered into campaign rhetoric.
“I am leaving it up to the Supreme Court,” Trump said.
PREVIOUSLY: As the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether Donald Trump can be kept off the state ballot, there were signs that the justices have skepticism about such a move.
Justice Elena Kagan told Jason Murray, attorney for the group of voters challenging Trump’s eligibility, “Most boldly, I think the question you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States.” She suggested that the decision on who is disqualified for insurrection under the 14th Amendment was a federal one. She said that it “seems quite extraordinary” that the decision in one state could have such a sweeping impact.
“Ultimately, it is going to be this court that is going to decide that question of federal constitutional eligibility, and settle the issue for the nation,” Murray said.
He argued that Article 2 gives states the powers to pick their own presidential electors “as they see fit.”
Justice Amy Coney Barrett said that were the Supreme Court to affirm the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision, “it is going to have the effect of Colorado deciding.” She said that the high court would be “stuck” with the Colorado court’s factual record that concluded that Trump engaged in an insurrection.
Murray said that the “facts that are disputed here are incredibly narrow. The essence of our case is President Trump’s own statements being made in public view for all to see.”
Earlier, Trump’s attorney Jonathan Mitchell told Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson that they “never accepted or conceded that this was an insurrection.”
“For an insurrection, there needs to be an organized, concerted effort to overthrow the government of the United States through violence,” he said.
Jackson then asked, “So your point is that a chaotic effort to overthrow the government is not an insurrection?”
“We didn’t concede that it was an effort to overthrow the government either,” he answered. “…This was a riot, not an insurrection. The events were shameful, criminal, violent, all those things, but it did not qualify as an insurrection as that term is used in Section 3” of the 14th Amendment.
PREVIOUSLY: News networks prepared for a morning of audio-only legal arguments, as attorneys for the state of Colorado and Donald Trump campaign’s appear before the Supreme Court as the justices weigh whether the former president is eligible to appear on the state’s ballot.
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in December that Trump was ineligible under a clause of the 14th Amendment. That prohibits those who taken an oath to uphold the Constitution from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” A majority of the state’s judge’s concluded that Trump did on January 6, 2021, when he appeared before a rally and encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol where lawmakers were certifying the Electoral Vote count.
Trump is not expected to attend the oral arguments, but Fox News promoted that he would provide his reaction at 11:30 a.m. ET, after the proceedings end.
The secretary of State of Maine also concluded that Trump was ineligible for that state’s ballot. Trump is appealing that decision.
C-SPAN is also providing audio coverage of the oral arguments.
One of the prominent voices arguing that Trump is ineligible, retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig, appeared on CNN and told Jake Tapper that originalist and textualist interpretations of the Constitution have made it “pristine clear” that the former president is disqualified.
Trump’s legal team has argued that the former president did not take part in an insurrection, and that, as the commander in chief, he was not an “officer” of the United States, as is specified in the 14th Amendment clause.
Other state courts have come to different rulings, allowing for Trump to remain on the ballot.
Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Trump does not have immunity from prosecution on federal criminal charges that he conspired to remain in power after the 2020 election. Trump’s team has until Monday to file an appeal with the Supreme Court to stay the decision pending a petition for the justices to review the case.
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