U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito raised concerns about the severity of Colorado’s ban on former President Donald Trump’s eligibility to run for president during a hearing on Thursday, at one point asking Trump’s attorney, Jonathan Mitchell, about whether Colorado was setting a precedent that could be followed by other states.
“Suppose there is a country that proclaims again and again and again that the United States is its biggest enemy, and suppose that the president of the United States, for diplomatic reasons, thinks it is in the best interest of the United States to provide funds or release funds so that they can be used by that country, could a state determine that person has given aid and comfort to the enemy and therefore keep that person off of the ballot?” Alito asked, noting that Colorado’s removal was “quite severe,” according to Newsweek.
Mitchell countered by asserting that Colorado does not adhere to the legal principle of collateral estoppel or issue preclusion, which prohibits parties from re-litigating matters already decided in prior court cases. Therefore, according to Mitchell, Colorado’s stance does not set a precedent for other states to follow.
The Supreme Court is tasked with deciding whether Colorado has the authority to remove Trump from the ballot due to allegations of inciting rebellion. Similarly, Maine has also excluded Trump from the ballot under the insurrection clause. A ruling by the Supreme Court could potentially resolve Trump’s appeal and similar cases in other states.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito smacks Joe Biden during Donald Trump's 14th Amendment Case before SCOTUS.
"Suppose there is a country that proclaims again and again and again that the United States is its biggest enemy, and suppose that the president of the United States for… pic.twitter.com/3s4onZ1ewR
— Conservative Brief (@ConservBrief) February 8, 2024
In December, the highest court in Colorado effectively declared that Trump had engaged in insurrection in connection with the events of January 6, 2021, when his followers stormed the Capitol building amid the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. With a vote of 4–3, the state court declared that it had not reached its decision “lightly” and that it was “mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us.”
In December, Colorado’s highest court effectively ruled that Trump had participated in an insurrection linked to the events of January 6, 2021, when his supporters breached the Capitol during the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. The state court, with a 4–3 vote, emphasized that its decision was not made lightly and acknowledged the significance of the issues at hand.
The decision is on hold while the Supreme Court considers an appeal. There hasn’t been a criminal conviction of Trump for insurrection, nor has he even been charged with such an offense.