Supreme Court Faces Decision on Whether Donald Trump Can Appear on 2024 Ballot
The Supreme Court is set to determine whether former President Donald Trump should be allowed to be on the 2024 ballot, igniting a legal debate of significant importance.
Recently, the court distributed the case of John Castro v. Donald Trump to the justices for conference, slated to occur on September 26, just before the start of the upcoming term on October 2. The decision on the case is expected to be reached on or before October 9.
John Castro, an aspiring Republican nominee and tax attorney, submitted a petition to the Supreme Court last month. In the petition, Castro asks the justices to address whether political candidates can challenge the eligibility of another candidate from the same party who is running for the same nomination, particularly citing potential harm to their competitive standing due to a reduction in votes.
The crux of the lawsuit argues that Trump should be barred from running for the presidency based on section three of the 14th Amendment. This section disqualifies individuals from holding public office if they have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States. While Trump has not faced charges of insurrection, Castro highlights Trump’s alleged involvement in the January 6 Capitol riot as evidence for disqualification.
Trump, who has entered a plea of not guilty to all charges lodged against him this year, retorted against attempts to remove his name from the ballot using the constitutional clause. He proclaimed that legal scholars have largely discredited the applicability of the 14th Amendment to the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election. Trump labeled the efforts as a mere tactic employed by the Radical Left Communists, Marxists, and Fascists to rig the election in their favor.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s attorney, Jesse Binnall, for comment on the matter.
However, former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani expressed doubts about the likelihood of the justices siding with Castro. Given that Trump has not been charged or convicted of insurrection or rebellion, Rahmani inferred that convictions were not mandated by the Constitution’s plain language. Rahmani noted that even the prosecutors handling Trump’s case did not believe there was sufficient evidence to establish his guilt for insurrection or sedition.
Previous attempts to challenge Trump’s candidacy based on the 14th Amendment have been unsuccessful. In a case brought forth by tax attorney Lawrence Caplan in Florida, the lawsuit was dismissed by a judge who ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing. The judge further emphasized that the alleged injuries were not specific to the plaintiffs.
Castro, however, asserts that his case has standing as he is directly impacted by Trump’s presence on the ballot, considering his own pursuit of the Republican nomination. The Supreme Court petition argues that Castro and Trump are not only competitors for the same political position within their party but also vie for the support of the same voter base. Castro claims to have interacted with numerous voters who expressed their intention to vote for him solely if Trump is not a candidate, citing their allegiance to Trump.
The petition also states that if Trump, who is purportedly constitutionally ineligible to hold office, is allowed to seek votes in primary elections and raise funds, Castro will sustain irrevocable competitive harm. Such unauthorized campaigning by Trump would put Castro at a disadvantage, both in terms of voters and potential donors.
Castro, who previously supported Trump until the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, has since become an ardent critic of the former president. He had contributed to Trump’s campaign following his victory in the 2016 election.