Illinois' findings that Trump played role in Capitol riot not addressed in SCOTUS' ballot decision

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Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Illinois' Jan. 6 findings not addressed in SCOTUS ballot decision
The Supreme Court Trump ballot ruling does not address findings by authorities in three states that he played a role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Donald Trump has been claiming victory on Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states do not have the right to kick him off the ballot.

Judges and officials in three states, including Illinois, had moved to remove the former president from the ballot because of his alleged role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

While this ruling was a win for Trump, keeping him on the ballot in all 50 states, the Supreme Court's opinion did not delve into the issue of whether he engaged in insurrection. But now, his fate will simply be up to the voters.

With early voting now underway in all 50 wards, the question of whether votes for Trump will be counted now settled by the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision in a case out of Colorado, the justices said individual states do not have the right to remove a federal candidate from the ballot.

That power, the Court said, was reserved for Congress.

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"The voters can take the person out of the race very quickly, but a court shouldn't be doing that, and the Supreme Court saw that very well," Trump said.

Caryn Lederer, the attorney who represented the voters that objected to Trump being on the Illinois ballot, was disappointed by the ruling, but she noted that the court's opinion did not address the decisions by authorities in Illinois, Colorado and Maine, who found that Trump had played a role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

"Donald Trump engaged in insurrection and is unfit for the presidency. He may not be constitutionally disqualified, but that does not mean he's fit to serve," Lederer said. "There was a conscious choice made not to provide guidance, what it means to engage in insurrection under section three of the 14th Amendment. The Colorado Supreme Court spoke on that point and the Supreme Court did not disturb it's decision."

Some Democrats believe that while Trump won the court ballot battle, he was not cleared of involvement in what happened on January 6, 2021.

"I think we have to understand the Supreme Court did not exonerate Donald Trump from all the charges that are being held against him," said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

The ruling for Trump came one day before Super Tuesday, with Colorado and Maine among the states holding primaries. Illinois' primary is two weeks away.

The Illinois Republican Party Chairman said, in a statement, "This decision is a victory for voters, who will now have an opportunity to choose who represents them in the White House."

Democrats believe this could be a motivating factor for votes against Trump, not just in the primaries, but in the November general election as well with Trump the presumptive Republican nominee.

"I don't think it's beyond the people of this country to be able to push back against the Supreme Court's decision, but that also includes making sure that people actually get out and vote," said Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson.

"I didn't think they were going to kick the president off the ballot. I saw the handwriting on the wall. It's up to the American people now," said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley.

"My view is that we will beat him at the ballot box. There's no reason why, politically, someone should be thrown off the ballot," said Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. "I think it will help Democrats that he's on the ballot."

The last time the Supreme Court got involved in a presidential race was in the contested race between George Bush and Al Gore more than 23 years ago. With Monday's ruling, voters will get to have their say on whether Trump is fit to be president again.