Donald Trump urges Supreme Court to keep him on ballot in final pitch before arguments

Former President Donald Trump on Monday urged the Supreme Court to keep his name on Colorado’s ballot, accusing his challengers of pursuing an “anti-democratic” legal case against him, in the final written argument he’s expected to make before the justices hear oral arguments in the case this week.

“He is the presumptive Republican nominee and the leading candidate for President of the United States,” Trump’s attorneys told the Supreme Court in the brief. “The American people – not courts or election officials – should choose the next President of the United States.”

Trump’s attorneys compared the litigation seeking to remove him from the ballot to anti-democratic efforts in Venezuela.

“Yet at a time when the United States is threatening sanctions against the socialist dictatorship in Venezuela for excluding the leading opposition candidate for president from the ballot,” they claimed, the voters who brought the case are asking the Supreme Court “to impose that same anti-democratic measure at home.”

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday in the blockbuster challenge to Trump’s ballot eligibility because of his role in the events that led to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. A group of Colorado voters claim those actions amounted to an insurrection and that the Constitution bars him from holding office.

Trump’s appeal to the Supreme Court over Colorado’s ballot is one of many legal entanglements the former president faces as he campaigns for another term. A trial in the election subversion case brought by special counsel Jack Smith had been set for March 4, but it was postponed last week because an appeals court is still weighing Trump’s claim that he is entitled to immunity.

The groups challenging Trump’s eligibility for the ballot want to keep the high court focused on the big picture, specifically by arguing Trump’s words at a campaign-style rally outside the White House incited the mob that attacked the Capitol. Trump’s lawyers, on the other hand, are eager to highlight “off-ramps” the court may use to decide the case in his favor on narrow grounds.

At center in Trump v. Anderson is how the court will interpret Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits certain elected officials, including an “officer of the United States,” from holding any office in the future if they have “engaged in insurrection.” Trump argues the term “officer” doesn’t apply to presidents and that Congress must pass a law before the Section 3 can be enforced.

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