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Trump worried conservative Supreme Court justices will rule against him on states’ ballots, says report

Trump privately shares concern conservative justices may be worried about being seen as ‘political’ and rule against him

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Saturday 30 December 2023 15:40 GMT
Related video: Maine bars Trump from primary ballot

Donald Trump is reportedly concerned that some conservative justices on the Supreme Court – half of which he appointed – may rule against him after he was removed from the ballots in several states under the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists holding public office.

Advisers to Mr Trump are prepping to file challenges as soon as Tuesday to the decisions in Colorado and Maine, according to The New York Times.

Mr Trump was removed from their GOP primary ballots because of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot when his supporters attempted to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory in their false and baseless belief that the election had been stolen.

While Mr Trump has been charged with wrongdoing in relation to the Capitol riot, his allies often make the point that he hasn’t been criminally charged with “insurrection”.

The Trump team is set to file a challenge in a Maine state court to the secretary of state’s decision to block Mr Trump from appearing on the ballot, while the ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court to remove Mr Trump will be challenged in the US Supreme Court.

The former president appointed three of the six conservative justices on the court. The three liberals were appointed by Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The remaining three conservatives were appointed by George HW Bush and George W Bush.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states that any officer who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution cannot “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof”.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows told a local CBS station on Friday that “every state is different”.

“I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. I fulfilled my duty,” she added.

In private, Mr Trump has said that he thinks the Supreme Court will rule against both Colorado and Maine, The Times reported. Even so, Mr Trump has also shared his concern that the conservative justices may be worried about being seen as “political” and rule against him.

The Colorado ruling surprised many in Trumpworld, while the Maine decision was more expected, with the ex-president’s advisors preparing a statement in advance and writing most of their appeal following Ms Bellows’s hearing on 15 December.

Other challenges to Mr Trump’s appearance on ballots have been unsuccessful. In Wisconsin, a complaint attempting to have Mr Trump removed from the state’s ballot was dismissed this week and the California secretary of state has said that the former president would stay on the ballot.

Fourteen states have ongoing lawsuits attempting to remove Mr Trump, according to Lawfare.

The Trump team have been trying to argue that all the criminal indictments against him and his removal from ballots are part of a massive Democratic witch hunt as they claim that the former president is the victim of election interference – an attempt to level the same accusations Mr Trump faced after he attempted to overturn the 2020 election citing baseless claims of fraud.

“Democrats in blue states are recklessly and un-Constitutionally suspending the civil rights of the American voters by attempting to summarily remove President Trump’s name from ballots,” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told The Times.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told CNN that Mr Trump’s ballot removal “makes him a martyr”.

“He’s very good at playing ‘Poor me, poor me.’ He’s always complaining,” he added.

In Colorado, Mr Trump will stay on the ballot during the Supreme Court’s decision process.

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