wsj.com – WASHINGTON— By Jess Bravin and Jesse Wolfe – Justices hear oral arguments on whether 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause bars him from returning to the White House –
A cross-section of Supreme Court justices Thursday voiced skepticism about a Colorado ruling that barred Donald Trump from the ballot, as the court for the first time heard arguments over disqualifying a presidential candidate for allegedly engaging in insurrection.
The Colorado decision “is wrong and should be reversed for numerous independent reasons,” Jonathan Mitchell, a lawyer for the former president, told the court at the outset of the hearing.
A Supreme Court decision affirming that ruling would “take away the votes of potentially tens of millions of Americans,” Mitchell said.
Signaling sympathy for that argument, Justice Samuel Alito said the Colorado ruling could have severe consequences if upheld. He also said there was little if any history of a state attempting to disqualify someone from a federal office in this way.
The case involves not only the mayhem of Jan. 6, 2021, when a pro-Trump mob raided the Capitol in an effort to prevent lawmakers from certifying President Biden’s victory in the November 2020 election. Equally at issue is the meaning of a spare phrase added to the Constitution following the Civil War disqualifying from public office former federal and state officers who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the U.S. and gave “aid and comfort” to its enemies.