(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up a historic case challenging Donald Trump’s ability to hold office again over his role in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump is asking the justices to overturn an unprecedented Colorado Supreme Court decision deeming him ineligible to appear on the state’s GOP primary ballot because, it said, he “engaged in insurrection.” Trump has long denied any wrongdoing.
The legal battle centers on a previously obscure provision of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment — Section 3 — ratified shortly after the Civil War.
The case is casting a political shadow over the nation’s highest court not has not been seen since the 2000 election with Bush v. Gore.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Feb 08, 10:20 AM
First question comes from Justice Thomas, who faced calls for recusal
The first question to Mitchell came from Justice Clarence Thomas, who has been in the spotlight due to his wife Ginni’s role in Jan. 6.
Some called on Thomas to recuse himself from this case.
Thomas asked Mitchell if Section 3 is self-executing — a key issue in this case. Mitchell said the provision needs congressional enforcement.
Feb 08, 10:18 AM
Trump attorney kicks off oral arguments
Jonathan Mitchell, Trump’s attorney, in his opening statement, asserted that the Colorado Supreme Court decision is “wrong and should be reversed for numerous independent reasons.”
Mitchell argued that Trump is not covered under Section 3 as an elected official and claiming he is not an “officer” of the United States. He also said that Section 3 cannot apply to a candidate, only those who hold office.
He said that if the U.S. Supreme Court affirms the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision, it would “take away votes of potentially tens of millions of Americans.”
Feb 08, 10:02 AM
Scenes from outside the U.S. Supreme Court
Ahead of the historic arguments, some anti-Trump demonstrators gathered outside the front of the building with banners and signs disparaging the former president.
Police also took steps to ramp up security by placing fencing around the court.
Feb 08, 9:38 AM
What Americans think SCOTUS should do with Trump ballot challenges
An ABC News/Ipsos poll found a majority of Americans (56%) were willing to see Trump disqualified in all or some states: 30% said the U.S. Supreme Court should bar him completely and 26% said it should let each state decide.
Thirty-nine percent said the U.S. Supreme Court should keep Trump on the ballot in all states.
Americans were split on the decisions out of Maine and Colorado to bar Trump from the ballot: 49% supported them while 46% were opposed.
Feb 08, 9:52 AM
What to know about the arguments
There are 80 minutes total allotted for arguments but the court is expected to go over that timeframe.
A number of questions are likely to be debated: Is Trump an “officer” of the United States to whom Section 3 applies; who can enforce Section 3; and did Trump engage in an insurrection?
Trump is being represented by Jonathan Mitchell, a former clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia. The Colorado voters are being represented by Jason Murray, a former clerk to Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Neil Gorsuch.
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