News

SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments on Trump's Colorado Ballot Eligibility

It's unclear how long the U.S. Supreme Court will take to issue a decision on the matter.

Published Feb 8, 2024

 (Julia Nikhinson / Getty Images)
Image Via Julia Nikhinson / Getty Images

On Feb. 8, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Trump v. Anderson, the lawsuit that led to 2024 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump being disqualified from the Colorado state ballot.

The challenge revolves around a little-used clause in the 14th Amendment that disqualifies an "officer of the United States" from holding office who "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same."

The lawsuit is being led by Norma Anderson, a Republican from Colorado who was the first female majority leader in both chambers of the state's government.

As reported by credible news sources like C-SPAN, The New York Times, NPR and The Associated Press, Trump's attorney, Jonathan Mitchell, provided arguments against Trump's disqualification, while the Colorado solicitor general, Shannon Stevenson, and Norma Anderson's attorney, Jason Murray, argued for the disqualification.

Although the Supreme Court moved quickly to hear oral arguments, it's unclear how long the court will take to issue a decision. The ruling could solidify whether Trump is eligible for the ballot, or leave the decision up to Congress (which could overturn Trump's potential eligibility with a two-thirds vote) and the general voters, as reported by NPR.

How media outlets are covering the news:

  • The oral arguments were broadcast live on C-SPAN, and a written transcript of the argument should be published by the Supreme Court sometime after the arguments conclude.
  • The New York Times provided live updates throughout the hearing, with brief contextual information as various arguments come up.
  • While NPR did not cover the hearings live, its article on the hearing provides crucial background information on the lawsuit in question, what the arguments are for each side and how the court might decide.
  • The Associated Press published live updates on the arguments, and should also cover Trump's news conference at Mar-a-Lago after the arguments conclude.

As journalists piece together details about the legal arguments and postulate about how the court might decide, unverified rumors are spreading on social media.

For example, Snopes spotted posts from Republican politicians like U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona and U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri arguing that claims of insurrection and the lawsuit were brought by "Dems" and "the Left."

However, as reported by NPR, the lawsuit is being led by a Republican, Anderson.

Snopes urges caution before sharing information that hasn’t been independently verified by a trusted news or fact-checking outlet, such as Snopes, The Associated Press, Reuters, BBC, POLITICO, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and so on.

If you come across questionable rumors related to Trump's ballot eligibility, send them our way. We’ll do our best to look into them.

Snopes has published other stories explaining some of the background of the case as well:

Sources

“14th Amendment.” LII / Legal Information Institute, https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv. Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

“Https://Twitter.Com/HawleyMO/Status/1755608862311526514.” X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/HawleyMO/status/1755608862311526514. Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

“Https://Twitter.Com/RepAndyBiggsAZ/Status/1755595519601115316.” X (Formerly Twitter), https://twitter.com/RepAndyBiggsAZ/status/1755595519601115316. Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

Johnson, Carrie. “Supreme Court Considers Whether Trump Can Be Removed from a Primary Ballot.” NPR, 8 Feb. 2024. NPR, https://www.npr.org/2024/02/08/1229176555/supreme-court-trump-colorado-ballot.

Kasprak, Alex. “‘Engaged in Insurrection’: Trump, SCOTUS, and the 14th Amendment, Explained.” Snopes, 29 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/news/2023/12/29/trump-disqualification-questions/.

---. “How the 14th Amendment Could Prevent Trump from Appearing on State Ballots.” Snopes, 5 Jan. 2024, https://www.snopes.com/news/2024/01/05/trump-disqualification-explainer/.

Liptak, Adam. “Colorado Ballot: Supreme Court Hearing Case on Trump’s Eligibility for Another Term.” The New York Times, 8 Feb. 2024. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/02/08/us/trump-supreme-court-colorado-ballot.

“Live: Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Whether Trump Should Remain on Ballot.” AP News, https://apnews.com/live/trump-supreme-court-arguments-updates. Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

Montellaro, Zach. “Mitch McConnell, Capitol Police Officers and Bill Barr: Who Weighed in Ahead of the Arguments.” POLITICO, 7 Feb. 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/07/trump-supreme-court-ballot-amicus-briefs-00140259.

Quinn, Melissa. Trump’s 2024 Ballot Eligibility Is before the Supreme Court Today. Here’s What to Know about the Colorado Case. - CBS News. 8 Feb. 2024, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-ballot-eligibility-case-supreme-court/.

“Supreme Court Sounds Broadly Skeptical of Efforts to Kick Trump off Ballot over Capitol Attack.” AP News, 8 Feb. 2024, https://apnews.com/article/supreme-court-insurrection-trump-2024-election-397a481d2886b64bba06b24ff3d03f37.

Supreme Ct. Hears Case on Fmr. Pres. Trump’s Colorado Ballot Eligibility | C-SPAN.Org. https://www.c-span.org/video/?532724-1/supreme-ct-hears-case-fmr-pres-trumps-colorado-ballot-eligibility#. Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

“Trump v. Anderson.” SCOTUSblog, https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/trump-v-anderson/. Accessed 8 Feb. 2024.

Jack Izzo is a Chicago-based journalist and two-time "Jeopardy!" alumnus.