This morning the Supreme Court hears arguments in regard to Colorado’s attempt to ban former President Trump from the ballot for the 2024 Presidential election. There has seldom been a more critical moment for the Court, which has become heavily politicized due to attacks by the usual suspects–whacko pro(re)gressives. Leaving aside the legal issues around interpretation of the Constitution and federal statutes, the fundamental question is whether we are going to at least pretend that we have some semblance of the rule of law that rises about political ideology or are we going to overtly be a literal third-world country, or Russia, where “legal” process is used as a pretext to remove opposing candidates.
What Colorado and other states are attempting is blatantly political, it is an attack based not on any real legal basis but on dislike of a particular candidate. These efforts are not limited to former President Trump; other attempts are being made to keep Republican candidates for other offices off the ballot. If these efforts are at all successful, then Republicans will feel obligated to act in the same manner, and frankly, if that is the way the system is going to work, they should. Come up with some pretext to keep Bidementia off the ballot in various states.
The Supreme Court must unanimously make the strongest possible statement–that candidates for political office should be judged by voters, not their opponents. Among other concerns, it is a violation of citizens’ rights of association to limit who they can vote for. It is fundamentally inconsistent with a functioning democracy. So the Supreme Court should establish a general rule, irrespective of the insurrection clause issue, that no candidate for office, federal, state or local, can be removed from the ballot except upon an actual criminal conviction relevant to the office–a showing of some malfeasance related to the office. It cannot in any manner encourage the ongoing Russification of the US political system; it cannot allow one party to imagine it can win by using legal processes instead of the ballot box.