Liberal Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan on Thursday stumped the Colorado lawyer arguing to remove former President Donald Trump from the ballot under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Colorado ruled in a 4-3 decision to remove Trump from the Colorado ballot for the 2024 election over the 14th Amendment’s Section 3 “insurrectionist” clause in December. Kagan questioned lawyer Jason Murray, who is representing Norma Anderson & Group of Colorado voters, on whether one state should be able to remove a national candidate from the ballot.
“Maybe put most boldly, I think that the question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States,” Kagan said. “In other words, this question of whether a former president is disqualified for insurrection to be president again … Just say it, it sounds awfully national to me. So whatever means there are to enforce it would suggest that they have to be federal, national means.”
“If you weren’t from Colorado and you were from Wisconsin or you were from Michigan, and … what the Michigan secretary of state did is going to make the difference between whether candidate A is elected or candidate B is elected, that seems quite extraordinary, doesn’t it?” Kagan asked.
Murray responded that is not the correct characterization.
“No, Your Honor,” he answered. “Because ultimately it’s this Court that’s going to decide that question of federal constitutional eligibility and settle the issue for the nation.”
“Well I suppose this court would be saying something along the lines of that a state has the power to do it,” Kagan responded. “But I guess I was asking you to go a little bit further and say why should that be the right rule? Why should a single state have the ability to make this determination not only for their own citizens but for the rest of the nation?”
Murray said section II under the 14th Amendment gives states the right to appoint its own electors.
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