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The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

US Supreme Court set to determine Trump’s fate on Colorado and Maine primary ballots

In a 8-0 vote, the Illinois State Board of Elections unanimously votes to allow Trump to remain on primary ballot here
Matthew+Piers%2C+a+Chicago+attorney+speaks+to+media+on+Jan.+30+supporting+removing+former+President+Donald+Trump+from+the+Illinois+ballot.+The+Illinois+Board+of+Elections+decides+in+an+8-0+vote+to+keep+Trump+on+the+ballot.%0A
Hailey Bosek
Matthew Piers, a Chicago attorney speaks to media on Jan. 30 supporting removing former President Donald Trump from the Illinois ballot. The Illinois Board of Elections decides in an 8-0 vote to keep Trump on the ballot.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments later this week to determine whether Colorado and Maine can keep Donald Trump off their presidential primary ballots. Meanwhile, the Illinois State Board of Elections voted last week to allow the former president to remain on the Illinois Republican primary ballot. The Illinois primary is March 19.

On Jan. 30, members of the Illinois State Board of Elections voted 8-0 in Trump’s favor, ruling against five Illinois voters and a national voting rights group who asked them to block his candidacy. 

His opponents had cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone from holding public office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States government.

The Illinois board’s members, both Republicans and Democrats, said they lacked the constitutional authority whether it is factually correct that the former president engaged in acts of rebellion in reference to the events of Jan. 6. Tuesday’s vote mirrored the hearing officer’s recommendation, which is the status-quo for the board.

“The candidate did not file a false statement of candidacy,” said Jack Vrett, a Republican board member. “I think that we do not have jurisdiction to wade into the constitutional issue.”

At least 35 states are pursuing disqualification challenges to remove Trump from the 2024 ballot,, with the voting rights group Free Speech for People being the driving force behind many of the efforts.

In December, Colorado’s Supreme Court voted by a slim margin to block Trump from that state’s primary ballot. Later that same month, Maine’s Secretary of State Shenna Bellows became the first in her position to bar a president from a primary ballot. Fifteen other states await their rulings on whether Trump can stay on their primary ballots. 

Trump has been in and out of court dealing with both civil and criminal cases for the past two years such as fraud, sexual assault and defamation, removal of White House documents, hush money and more.  Trump has appealed the Colorado and Maine ballot decisions. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments for those states this Thursday, Feb. 8. The high court’s ruling is expected to set a precedent for Trump’s candidacy in the other state’s primaries.

Though McCrory said she did not have the authority to keep Trump off the Illinois primary ballot, the Illinois Republican on the Board of Elections said she still believed he played a large role in the Jan. 6 events in the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in seven deaths and more than 1,000 criminal charges.

“I wanted to be clear that this Republican believes there was an insurrection. There’s no doubt in my mind he manipulated, instigated, aided and abetted an insurrection on Jan. 6,” McCrory said. “However, having said that, it is not my place to move on that today.” 

Scott Hibbard, chair of DePaul’s political science department, said the ruling mattered even if the state is traditionally left-leaning.

“I think it matters because it can shape this narrative of whether or not he’s a legitimate candidate,” Hibbard said. 

He believes that trying to oust someone from candidacy has become a political tactic. 

“It’s in the same way that the impeachment process has been politicized,” Hibbard said, noting every Republican in the House rallied behind an impeachment inquiry against President Biden despite the concerns of a lack of evidence.

Hibbards concerns might have become true in The State Board of Elections, where others were trying to oust Biden from the primary ballot on the same day for “giving aid and comfort to foreign enemies.” They were dismissed for lack of tangible legal evidence. Republican board member Vrett noted that using policies you disagree with as evidence “sets a dangerous precedent.”  

“I think at the end of the day, this is also where the rule of law does carry weight,” Hibbard said. “It’s not enough just to make claims. You actually have to prove them.”

Matthew Piers, a Chicago attorney who spoke on behalf of the five voters who asked the Illinois Board of Elections to remove Trump from the ballot, was dissatisfied with the results but said his clients would not give up. 

“We’re disappointed, but we always knew that this case was going to be determined in the courts, not in front of the state election board,” he said.

 Piers said the attorneys at Hughes Socol Piers Resnick Dym Law are ready to begin fighting at the next step- The Circuit Court of Cook County.

“We are very confident,” said Piers. “The law is clear and the facts are overwhelming.”

Adam Merrill, who represented Trump in the Illinois case, said he had no comment other than to say he was pleased with the result.

Trump posted his feelings of the results on Truth Social, his own alternative social media site. 

“Thank you to the Illinois State Board of Elections for ruling 8-0 in protecting the Citizens of our Country from the Radical Left Lunatics who are trying to destroy it. The VOTE was 8-0 in favor of keeping your favorite President (ME!), on the Ballot. I love Illinois. Make America Great Again!” he wrote.

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