Dem Judge Removes Trump From Illinois Presidential Ballot

( – An Illinois judge has ordered former President Donald Trump’s name removed from the state’s presidential ballot. The ruling follows a similar move in Colorado, and is based on an interpretation of the 14th Amendment. Trump has already appealed the decision, which threatens to disrupt the state’s Republican primary.

County Judge Steps Into Election

In January, a group of voters in Cook County, Illinois, petitioned the State Board of Elections to remove Trump’s name from the Republican primary ballot, claiming that he was ineligible to run under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which bans those who have “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office. The Board of Elections refused the challenge, and Trump’s name stayed on the ballot.

However, on February 16, the case landed in front of Cook County Circuit Court Judge Tracie Porter — a Democrat — and on February 28, she ordered the Board to either remove his name or “cause any votes cast for him to be suppressed.” She stayed the order until March 1 to give Trump time to appeal.

Porter argued that because Trump engaged in insurrection, he isn’t eligible to be on the ballot. This is the same argument used by the Colorado Supreme Court last December when it ruled that Trump couldn’t be on the ballot there. On the face of it, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is clear and unambiguous. Anyone who engaged in insurrection while in public office can’t hold public office again. There aren’t any gray areas; it’s a simple prohibition.

There’s just one problem with applying it to Trump, though. The former president has never been convicted of engaging in insurrection. In fact, he’s never even been charged with engaging in insurrection — and one of the key foundations of our whole legal system is that you’re innocent until proven guilty. Trump has not been proven guilty of insurrection, so how can he be punished for it?

Will This Stand?

Trump himself quickly hit back, filing an appeal against the decision and issuing a statement that slammed “Soros-funded Democrat front-groups” determined to interfere with the election. His appeal might not matter, though. The Supreme Court has already heard oral arguments in the Colorado ballot case, and Chief Justice John Roberts called the case “ahistorical” and questioned if it was constitutional. He pointed out that the whole point of the 14th Amendment was to put the federal government, not the states, in charge of who could appear on a ballot, and warned that if these moves to exclude Trump from the election are allowed to go ahead “surely there will be disqualification proceedings on the other side, and some of those will succeed.”

Justice Roberts said this could potentially leave elections to be decided by a handful of states where both candidates are on the ballot. If the Supreme Court overrules Colorado, it’s likely attempts to remove Trump from state ballots will quickly end. Even liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson seems to share Roberts’s fears, asking why we would “construe [the 14th Amendment] against democracy,” so there’s a good chance US democracy will survive the Illinois decision.

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