Even a Supreme Court justice with left-leaning views has raised concerns about Colorado’s argument to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential ballot.
In an audio recording from within the Supreme Court, broadcast on C-SPAN and shared on the social media platform X, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson pointed out a significant flaw in Colorado’s claim that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment justifies Trump’s removal from the state’s presidential ballot.
Jackson highlighted a critical issue – the 14th Amendment’s third section does not explicitly mention the office of the president. The section primarily addresses disqualification from congressional offices, as well as presidential and vice-presidential electors, without expressly mentioning the presidency.
During her questioning of Jason Murray, the attorney representing the group seeking Trump’s disqualification, Jackson presented a compelling historical argument, expressed skepticism about Colorado’s interpretation of Section 3, and ultimately emphasized both original intent and judicial restraint.
Jackson inquired, “Can you speak to the argument that Section 3 was about preventing the South from rising again in the context of these local elections, as opposed to focusing on the presidency?”
Murray responded with a comment about states regulating ballot access, prompting Jackson to clarify that her query was specific to the presidency.
Despite Murray’s insistence that the framers intended to exclude “charismatic rebels” from all federal offices, Jackson raised a crucial point – the absence of the term “president” in the enumerated list in Section 3.
She expressed concern, stating, “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.”
Jackson also highlighted that the amendment’s framers did list vice-presidential and presidential electors, suggesting a deliberate omission of the presidency was unlikely.
As Murray struggled, citing a contemporary exchange between Democratic Sen. Reverdy Johnson and Republican Sen. Justin S. Morrill, Jackson astutely pointed out the ambiguity in Morrill’s response.
She concluded by posing a critical question, “And so if there’s an ambiguity, why would we construe it to, as Justice Kavanaugh pointed out, uh, against democracy?”
🚨𝗕𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚 – Even the liberal justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated by Joe Biden, sees how ridiculous the argument to keep Donald Trump off of state ballots using the 14th amendment is.🔥
Ketanji Brown Jackson:
“I'm saying, the, the language here doesn't seem to… pic.twitter.com/T5JAdET0ak
— Right Angle News Network (@Rightanglenews) February 8, 2024
In December, Colorado’s State Supreme Court ruled Trump ineligible for the presidency based on the Capitol incursion of Jan. 6, 2021. Notably, no court has convicted Trump of “insurrection.” Regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case, credit goes to Jackson for an honest evaluation of Section 3’s plain meaning.