President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court appointee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who refused to define what a biological woman is during her confirmation hearings, may have given former President Donald Trump some good news during a hearing Thursday to consider whether Colorado’s removal of him from the 2024 ballot is legal.
In an audio recording from the Supreme Court on Thursday, Brown Jackson highlighted a clear issue with Colorado’s argument that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment allows the removal of Trump from the state’s presidential ballot. The recording was aired on C-SPAN and shared on the social media platform X.
Jackson essentially made the point that the presidency is not mentioned in the third section of the Fourteenth Amendment:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
The disqualification for “insurrection or rebellion” also extended to electors running for vice president and president, as well as congressional seats. Additionally, it included “any office, civil or military.” However, it did not specifically address the presidency.
Jackson questioned Jason Murray, the lawyer for the group seeking to remove Trump from Colorado’s ballot, and she presented a compelling historical case. She voiced doubts about Colorado’s interpretation of Section 3 and ultimately acknowledged both the original meaning and the principle of judicial restraint.
“Can you speak to the argument that really Section 3 was about preventing the South from rising again in the context of these sort of local elections, as opposed to focusing on the presidency?” she asked.
Jackson clarified that she had not inquired about ballot access in general when Murray made an odd remark about states controlling access to the voting booth.
Murray went on to assert that the framers of the 14th Amendment intended to prevent “charismatic rebels” from holding any position in the federal government, including the presidency.
“But then why didn’t they put the word ‘president’ in the very enumerated list in Section 3?” she asked.
“The thing that really is troubling to me is, I totally understand your argument, but they were listing people that were barred, and ‘president’ is not there. And so, I guess that just makes me worry that maybe they weren’t focusing on the president,” she added.