Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms Federal Authority: States Cannot Bar Trump from 2024 Ballot

In a historic decision, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that states do not have the authority to disqualify former President Donald Trump from appearing on the 2024 ballot. The landmark ruling overturns a 4-3 opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court, which had held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s “Insurrection Clause” prohibited Trump from featuring on the presidential ballot in the state.

The Supreme Court’s decision marks the first time it has ruled on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court emphasized that only Congress possesses the authority to disqualify a candidate from the ballot through the Insurrection Clause. This ruling overturns the December opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court and partially reverses a previous decision from November, which concluded that Trump does not meet the definition of an officer of the United States under the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court’s written opinion highlighted the historical context of the Fourteenth Amendment, emphasizing its role in expanding federal power at the expense of state autonomy. The decision underscored that Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment operates by imposing severe penalties, such as disqualification from holding various offices, and affirmed that Congress is empowered to determine the specifics of these determinations.

Chief Justice Chase’s conclusion was cited in the opinion, stating that proceedings, evidence, decisions, and enforcement, formal or otherwise, are indispensable for ascertaining the individuals covered by Section 3. The Court further acknowledged that Congress, through the Enforcement Act of 1870, already provided a mechanism for making these determinations.

Importantly, the Court clarified that while states have the authority to disqualify individuals from holding or attempting to hold state offices, they lack the constitutional power to enforce Section 3 with regard to federal offices, particularly the Presidency. Granting states such authority, the Court argued, would upset the constitutional balance between federal and state power established by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Justice Barrett, while concurring in the judgment, expressed that the majority had decided more than necessary, but emphasized that all nine Justices agreed on the outcome of the case. Liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson filed a separate opinion concurring in the judgment, asserting that no state has the authority to disqualify a federal candidate from the ballot.

Following the ruling, former President Donald Trump took to Truth Social, a social media platform, to declare the decision a “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!” The case, titled Trump v. Anderson, No. 23-719, will undoubtedly shape discussions around the intersection of state and federal powers in the electoral process.