While listening to over two hours of oral arguments, all nine Justices of the Supreme Court indicated some form of skepticism about the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling to remove Trump from the presidential ballot in 2024.
The liberal-leaning side of the court was no exception.
Justice Elena Kagan was particularly critical of one state wielding this kind of power over other states.
BREAKING: Best Supreme Court Quote Just Now By Justice Kagan: "The question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be President of the United States." pic.twitter.com/ftN4tNV7sG
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) February 8, 2024
Kagan wasn’t the only liberal Justice who was concerned about the way Colorado handled their decision.
Justice Kenji Brown, a Joe Biden nominee, also voiced concern.
The Washington Post reported:
Justice Elena Kagan expressed reservations, saying one state’s ruling could decide the issue for others. “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?” she asked.
The question got at a truism of American politics: Presidential elections are decided by just a handful of swing states. Kicking a candidate off the ballot in one or two key states could make their run for office impossible, even if they remain on the ballot elsewhere.
“That seems quite extraordinary, doesn’t it?” Kagan asked Jason Murray, the attorney for the Colorado voters who brought the case.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson noted Section 3 bars insurrectionists from serving as presidential electors but does not say anything about presidents. She suggested those who wrote Section 3 may have been focused on officials at the local and state level rather than national figures.
“The thing that really is troubling to me is … they were listing people that were barred and president is not there,” she said. “And so I guess that just makes me worry that maybe they weren’t focusing on the president.”
CNN detailed more criticism that came from SCOTUS Justices:
Several justices, straddling the ideological spectrum, signaled their concerns over the process that played out in Colorado, which resulted in Trump’s disqualification from the ballot.
Sharp comments on this topic from Kagan and Kavanaugh were consistent with the court’s overall unease – as made clear by their questioning – with the possibility that different states might settle this question of national importance by following a dizzying array of varying procedures.
The voters who challenged Trump’s eligibility sued under provisions of the Colorado election code, which dictates how ballot access disputes are adjudicated in court. More often, those disputes revolve around simple matters like residency or age requirements – and not complex constitutional questions about insurrections.
“It’s just more complicated and more contested, and, if you want, more political,” Kagan said to Colorado Solicitor General Shannon Stevenson, who represents the state’s top election official.
Trump reacted to the SCOTUS hearing recently, saying it was a “beautiful process.”