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Updated December 20th, 2023 at 13:36 IST

US elections 2024: Can Trump be barred? The ongoing fight over his 2024 eligibility

Colorado is the 1st state where Trump has been barred from the ballot due to the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause.

Sagar Kar
Former US president Donald Trump
Former US president Donald Trump | Image:AP
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Former President Donald Trump faces mounting challenges regarding his potential appearance on the 2024 presidential ballot, with multiple legal disputes across the United States seeking to disqualify him over his involvement in the January 6 Capitol riot. Amidst this legal tug-of-war, Colorado's recent ruling marks a significant milestone, becoming the first state where Trump has been barred from the ballot due to the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause.

The Colorado ruling has triggered a wave of attention as the insurrection clause within the 14th Amendment, which bars individuals from holding office if they've engaged in rebellion against the United States, is relatively untested. Trump's legal team swiftly responded, expressing intentions to appeal the decision, emphasizing the uncharted territory these legal challenges traverse.

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Colorado is not the only state where Trump is facing challenges

This Colorado case is part of a larger landscape that spans across at least 35 cases nationwide. The majority of these legal attempts, however, have encountered roadblocks, with several cases being dismissed or voluntarily withdrawn in multiple states, including Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Michigan, Florida, and more. Notably, the constitutional application and enforcement of the 14th Amendment remain nebulous, lacking a concrete process for disqualification.

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What exactly are people in favour of these lawsuits claiming?

Legal scholars and organizations involved in the lawsuits argue that Trump's actions in relation to the Capitol insurrection invoke the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause. According to a report from Axios, Free Speech For People, one of the plaintiff groups, contends that Trump's alleged involvement in the insurrection warrants his disqualification from holding office. This view has been echoed by prominent legal voices such as professors William Baude and Michael Paulsen.

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What are people, who oppose these lawsuits, saying?

On the other hand, Trump and his campaign have vehemently rejected these legal assertions. The campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, criticized the ballot challenges and urged their dismissal. Similarly, legal experts like Josh Blackman caution against allowing judges to decide candidate eligibility, citing concerns about disenfranchisement and the precedent it may set.

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The varied responses and legal outcomes of these cases have ignited discussions among legal circles, drawing attention to the potential implications on voter rights, political choices, and the interpretation of constitutional clauses. 

US Supreme Court will take the final call

As the legal saga unfolds, experts anticipate that the trajectory of these disputes might eventually lead to the U.S. Supreme Court, signalling a critical juncture in determining the extent of the insurrection clause's applicability and the implications for electoral processes.

The ongoing legal battles raise significant questions about the interpretation of constitutional provisions, the boundaries of candidacy eligibility, and the potential impact on the upcoming 2024 presidential elections.

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Published December 20th, 2023 at 13:36 IST

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