House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and scores of other GOP lawmakers threw their support behind Donald Trump on Thursday as they asked the US Supreme Court to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court ruling removing him from that state’s ballot.
In a friend-of-the-court brief, the Republicans argue that the Colorado Supreme Court “severely intrudes” on Congress’ power by allowing the Constitution’s “insurrectionist ban” to be enforced without authorization from Congress.
“Disqualification under Section 3 is an extraordinarily harsh result, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s own text confirms that Congress, representing the Nation’s various interests and constituencies, is the best judge of when to authorize Section 3’s affirmative enforcement,” the lawmakers told the justices in their brief.
The Colorado ruling “will only supercharge state officials to conjure bases for labeling political opponents as having engaged in insurrection,” they added, arguing that the justices should overturn the decision “to minimize the partisan incentive to boot opponents off the ballot” under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban.”
Many of the arguments by the group of lawmakers, led by GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and joined by 177 other members of Congress, are similar to those being pushed by Trump and his allies, including that the “insurrectionist ban” does not apply to presidents, as the Colorado court held.
“The Court need only conclude that the President is not an ‘officer of the United States.’ This provides yet another straightforward and clean basis for reversing the decision below,” they wrote.
The US Supreme Court agreed earlier this month to review the Colorado ruling, which said Trump is constitutionally ineligible to run in 2024 because the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists holding office covers his conduct on January 6, 2021.
Trump is expected to file his opening brief in the case on Thursday. The filing will lay out his arguments for why the nine justices should overturn the Colorado ruling.
Oral arguments in the case are set for February 8.
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