Defeating Trump in court will be dangerously destabilising to American democracy

As the Supreme Court deliberates over the legitimacy of Colorado’s decision to strike Trump from the state ballot, Jon Sopel explains why not allowing the divisive former president to run could do more harm than good...

Saturday 23 December 2023 16:38 GMT
In 2024, the US constitution is going to be stress-tested like never before
In 2024, the US constitution is going to be stress-tested like never before (AP)

If I was back in my old Washington newsroom, I would obviously be pitching to the bureau chief that I should be deployed immediately to Aspen or Vail – or maybe Beaver Creek – to test the mood of locals on the fabulous ski slopes of the Rocky Mountains. After all, the Colorado ruling to strike Donald Trump’s name off the ballot is momentous. But I suspect my former boss would have seen straight through my ruse and said: “Forget it, pal. The story is here in Washington.”

And it is.

What the ruling this week has done is put the Supreme Court of the United States on the ballot in 2024 – and slap, bang in the middle of the most high-stakes political controversy imaginable. This will make its 2000 adjudication on Bush v Gore in Florida look like the settlement of a minor playground squabble. It is exactly what the justices were hoping to avoid.

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