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Roberts and Alito Not Buying the Insurrection Argument in SCOTUS Oral Arguments


Colorado Attorney Jason Murray made his Supreme Court debut Thursday representing six Colorado voters who sued to keep Trump off the Colorado presidential ballot in 2024.

During oral arguments, multiple Justices continually rebutted Murray’s arguments concerning insurrection.

Two of the most outspoken were Justices Roberts and Alito.

At one point, Justice Alito even took a stab at Joe Biden as he questioned Murray.

Justice Kavanaugh got in on the action, taking particular issue with a state barring Trump from the presidential ballot over insurrection when he hasn’t been convicted of insurrection.

According to CNN:

Later, during questioning of Jason Murray, the attorney representing Colorado voters, Kavanaugh questioned why Trump should be removed from the ballot when he has not been convicted of inciting an insurrection. Kavanaugh noted there was a federal statute for insurrection and that Trump had not been charged with it, although he is facing other charges from special counsel Jack Smith related to his actions after the 2020 election.

Murray argued that the federal insurrection statute was enacted before the 14th Amendment was adopted, and that a federal conviction was not required to remove Trump from the ballot.

So far this case is looking like a huge victory for Trump supporters.

A unanimous 9-0 decision may be looming.

The Washington Post reported more on the skepticism from Justice Roberts and Justice Alito:

Roberts questioned Murray about the difficulties of determining when someone commits insurrection. He voiced skepticism about a scenario in which “we would be deciding whether it was an insurrection when one president did something as opposed to when somebody else did something else,” and which of those acts amounted to insurrection.

“There’s a reason Section 3 has been dormant for 160 years, and it’s because we haven’t seen anything like January 6,” Murray said.

“It seems to me you’re avoiding the question” about the definition of an insurrectionist, Roberts replied.

Alito echoed an argument from Trump that a ruling to keep him off the ballot would lead to partisans attempting to punish their political rivals by routinely trying to prevent them from running for office.

Murray noted that, until Jan. 6, there hasn’t been anything like an insurrection since the Civil War. Alito responded that the past could not predict the future, noting that there were no impeachments of presidents for 100 years and “in fairly short order over the last couple of decades, we’ve had three.”

 



 

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