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Legal Scholars: Trump Made ‘Dangerous’ Gamble With Supreme Court

via Fox News
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Former President Donald Trump has urged the Supreme Court to keep his name on Colorado’s ballot, accusing opponents of pursuing an “anti-democratic” legal case.

The case revolves around the interpretation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits certain officials from holding future office if they participated in insurrection.

“At a time when the United States is threatening sanctions against the socialist dictatorship in Venezuela for excluding the leading opposition candidate for president from the ballot, respondent Anderson asks this Court to impose that same anti-democratic measure at home,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.

The decision could have significant implications for future interpretations of the 14th Amendment and its application to elected officials.

“This decision will define both its application and use in this election and in future elections in American history,” political science professor David Schultz said. “It will be one of the most consequential decisions in recent American history.”

Trump’s legal team is emphasizing potential “off-ramps” for the court to rule in his favor on narrower grounds, aiming to persuade the justices to write an opinion that avoids more contentious issues.

“To suggest that Section 3 has no teeth on its own, I think creates more problems than it solves,” appellate attorney James Heilpern said.

“The 22nd Amendment, for example, disqualifies anyone from running for President who has already been elected President twice before. Likewise, the Constitution states that only ‘natural-born citizens’ are eligible to be President. I’m unaware of any federal legislation that enforces either of these provisions. If the Supreme Court holds that Section 3’s disqualification is not self-executing, then the same principle would extend to other qualifications for President and leave the States powerless to prevent Barack Obama or Arnold Schwarzenegger from appearing on the ballot.”

“Surely, President Trump is not suggesting that the slaves would not have been free in the absence of Congressional action over and above the super-majoritarian Amendment process,” Heilpern said.

“They’re trying to persuade the institutionalists on the Court – those justices that might be a little more concerned with preserving the Court’s power and reputation – that there’s a way to author a boring, neutral opinion that nonetheless keeps the Republican front-runner on the ballot,” Heilpern said.

“The request to ask the court to rule on the merits and declare he did not engage in insurrection is dangerous,” Schultz said. “He is asking for the court to make a factual determination and it cannot do that. It is bound by the factual determination of the Colorado trial court. He needs to show as a matter of law that the lower courts were wrong.”

The outcome could impact the normalization of certain behaviors and the stability of political systems.

“They could affirm the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision,” Heilpern said. “And if they did that, while there would be short-term protests and political agitation, in the long run, it could stabilize some of our broken political systems, demonstrate that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and strengthen the Supreme Court’s reputation and place as a co-equal branch of government.”

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