Will the Supreme Court Decide the Election?

States evaluate if former President Donald Trump is allowed to stay on the ballot.

PRAY FIRST that Americans and all in leadership would seek God’s perfect truth and God’s will as the United States Supreme Court prepares to consider whether the former president should be barred from the 2024 election.

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. – Proverbs 21:15 

Two states remove former president from ballots pending appeal.

On December 20, 2023, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that former President Donald Trump was disqualified from holding the office of president under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was adopted in 1868 after the Civil War to prevent former Confederates from holding office and bars anyone who engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States from serving in public office. The court removed President Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot, citing that he played a role in the events that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The court stayed its decision until January 4, 2024, or until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the case.

On December 28, 2023, Maine’s Secretary of State Shenna Bellows issued a decision finding the former president ineligible for the state’s presidential primary ballot under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. Secretary Bellows concluded that President Trump used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power. She claimed that President Trump was aware of the likelihood of violence and supported its use with his rhetoric and inaction. She suspended her decision pending an appeal by President Trump in state court.

On January 6, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the Colorado case, acknowledging the need to reach a decision quickly as voters will soon begin casting presidential primary ballots across the country. The court scheduled arguments for February 8, 2024, during its winter break. The court will consider for the first time the meaning and scope of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Seventeen other states are waiting on the high court’s decision as they consider similar action to remove the former president from primary ballots.

Reactions come from all sides.

The chairman of the Colorado GOP said, “We’ll plan to do a caucus” if the U.S. Supreme Court does not overturn the state court’s ruling that disqualified former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot. He said the party would request a waiver from the Republican National Committee to award delegates based on a caucus system, not a primary election.

The Colorado Secretary of State responded that the party cannot switch to a caucus system without violating state law, “Colorado’s presidential primaries cannot be canceled because a political party doesn’t want to have them.” She also said that they would not count write-in votes for candidates who did not file the required write-in affidavit. “It’s honestly not atypical to have a candidate who either withdraws or becomes disqualified on a ballot… It’s not our preferred way to run elections, but that has happened,” she said.

Former federal judge J. Michael Luttig, a conservative legal scholar who advocated for the 14th Amendment disqualification theory, said, “This is the most pressing constitutional question of our times. And it will be a test of America’s commitment to its democracy, to its constitution, and to the rule of law.” He praised the Colorado court’s decision and predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court would affirm it.

Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley, a Fox News contributor who opposed Trump’s second impeachment, called the Colorado decision “strikingly anti-democratic.” He argued that the court adopted the broadest possible interpretation of the 14th Amendment and that the decision could lead to states engaging in a tit-for-tat series of decisions to block candidates from the ballot.

Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who voted to acquit Trump in both impeachments, challenged the applicability of the 14th Amendment to the president and called the Colorado ruling “lawless thuggery masquerading as jurisprudence.” He said the decision would “dangerously undermine the First Amendment” and could disqualify many politicians from holding office.

The Final Word Will Come Down to the Supreme Court.

Lawyers for former President Trump appealed to the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling. They argued that the events of January 6, 2021, did not amount to an insurrection and that the former president was not an officer of the United States when he allegedly violated his oath.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the Colorado case said, “This case is of utmost national importance. And given the upcoming presidential primary schedule, there is no time to wait for the issues to percolate further. The Court should resolve this case on an expedited timetable, so that voters in Colorado and elsewhere will know whether Trump is indeed constitutionally ineligible when they cast their primary ballots.”

The nation’s highest court will have to decide whether the front-runner for the Republican nomination can stay on the ballot in Colorado and potentially other states that may follow its lead. The Court will also have to interpret for the first time the meaning and scope of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

It is important to note that, for the time being, former President Trump’s name remains on the ballots of both Colorado and Maine, as well as other states that have not taken any action to disqualify him. This could change depending on the outcome of the appeals and the timing of the court rulings.

Nicholas Ricardi, a reporter for the Associated Press, said, “Both the Colorado Supreme Court and the Maine Secretary of State stayed their decisions, recognizing that it’s the U.S. Supreme Court that’s going to have the final word on this.”

HOW THEN SHOULD WE PRAY:

— Pray for the Supreme Court as it takes up the Colorado appeal. Appoint judges and other officials in every town that the Lord your God gives you. These men are to judge the people impartially. They are not to be unjust or show partiality in their judgments; and they are not to accept bribes, for gifts blind the eyes even of wise and honest men, and cause them to give wrong decisions (Deuteronomy 16:18-19).

— Pray for an end to the hatred of others that has gripped and deepened in this country. Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly (Proverbs 26:24-26).

CONSIDER THESE ITEMS FOR PRAYER:

  • Pray for election officials as they prepare for coming primaries and caucuses. 
  • Pray for those who have put their names and characters forward as candidates running for election for America’s president in November 2024. 
  • Pray that each Christian would prayerfully consider his or her responsibility in exercising their privilege and right to vote. 
  • Pray for the justices of the Supreme Court as they may be asked to take up the action by Maine’s secretary of state. 
  • Pray for the Supreme Court as they prepare to hear and rule on election-related cases.

Sources: Bloomberg, Just The News, The Gateway Pundit, NBC News, Colorado Public Radio, Politico, ABC News, CBS News, Reuters, Newsmax, New York Times, Washington Times

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