In the previous year, both Colorado and Maine excluded ex-President Donald Trump from their primary election ballots. Despite the rejection by Colorado’s Supreme Court, Trump was permitted to stay on the ballot until a decision was reached by the US Supreme Court. Despite these challenges, Trump is garnering significant backing, with former Attorney General Bill Barr supporting his efforts to overturn the decisions of these states.
By a 4-3 majority, the Colorado Supreme Court determined that Section Three of the 14th Amendment, often referred to as the “Insurrection Clause,” bars Donald Trump from featuring on the primary ballot. This constitutional provision, introduced after the Civil War, aimed to prevent Confederates from holding public office. In essence, it stipulates that individuals involved in an insurrection while holding a public office are disqualified from holding office once more.
Bill Barr, together with former attorneys general Michael B. Mukasey and Edwin Meese III, joined by a team of legal scholars, filed a brief as friends of the court to support Trump. According to Breitbart, the brief was submitted by Gene Schaerr from Schaerr Jaffe LLP, who argued that the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision was flawed and characterized it as a “misrepresentation” of the clause. Furthermore, they claimed that the ruling established a precedent that could be detrimental.
The document also contends that the clause is not applicable to the presidency. It asserts that the clause excludes the president while specifically mentioning the offices of the House and Senate. The argument points out that earlier drafts of the amendment contained language explicitly naming the president and vice president, but these references were subsequently removed.
As per the document, even if the court determines that the former president participated in an insurrection, the brief argues that Trump should not be disqualified from any presidential election ballot on that ground.
In summary, the paper argues against granting exclusive power to partisan authorities for disqualifying candidates. The legal professionals argue that this situation could lead to a cycle of reprisals, proposing that Republican secretaries of state might have the ability to exclude President Joe Biden from the candidacy. They exemplified this worry with a hypothetical situation, envisioning Georgia’s attorney general removing Biden a day before the ballot certification deadline.
In the initial days of January, Barr penned an opinion piece expressing his disagreement with the idea of excluding Trump from election ballots. Despite his personal opposition to Trump, Barr asserted that the methods proposed for his removal are both unconstitutional and perilous.
He acknowledged the former president’s contentious, petty, and harmful demeanor, expressing concern that it could harm the nation. However, Barr argued that eliminating Trump from the ballot would be politically disadvantageous and, more importantly, pose a threat to our political system.