The US Supreme Court intervenes in the legal dispute over Donald Trump's participation in the primaries for the Republican presidential nomination. The Supreme Court announced on Friday afternoon (local time) that it would take up a corresponding request from the former US president and current presidential candidate. The case is scheduled to be heard on February 8th in the capital Washington.
Trump had turned to the court to overturn a decision from the state of Colorado that disqualified him from the 2021 primary election because of his role in the 2021 attack on the US Capitol. Trump opponents are filing lawsuits across the country to argue that the Republican has forfeited his right to run for president again. The top election supervisor in the state of Maine recently made a decision similar to that in Colorado. In Michigan and Minnesota, attempts to disqualify Trump failed. Corresponding lawsuits are still ongoing elsewhere.
Due to the different decisions, it was considered very likely that the primary election dispute would ultimately end up before the Supreme Court. A substantive decision by the Supreme Court in Colorado's primary election should also resolve open cases in other states, since the plaintiffs' arguments are the same everywhere.
Trump wants to run again for the Republicans in the next US presidential election at the beginning of November. Anyone who wants to run as a presidential candidate for the Republicans or Democrats must first prevail in the party's internal primaries. Plaintiffs have been trying for some time in various states to prevent Trump's participation in the primaries and to have the 77-year-old's name removed from ballot papers.
On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters violently stormed the parliament building in Washington. Congress met there to formally confirm Democrat Joe Biden's victory against Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Trump had previously incited his supporters during a speech with unsubstantiated claims that the election victory had been stolen from him through massive fraud. As a result of the riots, five people died.
In their lawsuits, Trump opponents cite the so-called ban on insurrection in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Accordingly, no one may hold a higher office in the state who has previously taken part in an uprising against the state as an official. Although the passage gives some examples of such higher offices, the office of president is not explicitly listed.
Trump's lawyers argue in their petition to the Supreme Court that the Colorado court exceeded its authority. The question of the fitness of a president is a matter for the US Congress and not for state courts. The constitutional amendment that the plaintiffs rely on is not applicable in Trump's case. Trump's campaign team viewed the Colorado court decision as an "un-American, unconstitutional act of election interference."
Time is running out. When the case goes before the Supreme Court on February 8, Republican primaries have already taken place in some states. In Colorado and Maine they take place on March 5th – the so-called Super Tuesday. Then there will be voting in a whole series of states. The ballot papers are printed some time in advance.
For the Democrats, Biden wants to run for a second term. He has no serious internal competition. Among the Republicans, Trump is far ahead in polls among the party's internal presidential candidates.
During his term in office, Trump shifted the majority on the US Supreme Court significantly to the right. Six of the nine judges are now considered conservative. However, the Supreme Court did not always rule in his favor. In addition to the legal dispute over his participation in the primaries, the Republican also faces several major court proceedings in the coming months on various criminal charges - including the storming of the Capitol and his attempts to retroactively overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.