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29 Feb, 2024 00:56

Trump axed from another US state ballot

Illinois has joined two other states’ efforts to prevent the former commander-in-chief from vying for the GOP nomination
Trump axed from another US state ballot

An Illinois judge has ruled that former US President Donald Trump cannot appear on the state’s Republican primary ballots, ordering local election officials to strike his name from the running. Trump’s legal team has been given just two days to appeal, with the order to take effect on March 1.

The Illinois state primary race kicks off on March 19.

Cook County Judge Tracie Porter handed down the decision on Wednesday, claiming that Trump’s actions surrounding the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol disqualified him from seeking reelection in Illinois. She cited the 14th Amendment’s Insurrection Clause, which bars former US officials from returning to military or civilian office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”

The ruling comes after a group of voters filed a formal objection to Trump’s candidacy with the state elections board, pointing to his alleged “participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 events.” While officials later voted unanimously to retain his name on the GOP ballot, the move prompted a legal challenge from the voters’ lawyers, who presented the same argument to the court.

The case marks the third attempt in as many states to prevent Trump’s nomination, after litigants in Colorado and Maine also sought to disqualify the former president on the basis of the Insurrection Clause. However, rulings in those cases have been paused pending an appeal at the US Supreme Court, which has signaled skepticism toward the plaintiffs.

During a hearing earlier this month, a majority of justices questioned whether state officials had the authority to apply the Insurrection Clause to presidential candidates, with liberal Justice Elena Kagan questioning “why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States.” Conservative-leaning Justice Amy Coney Barret similarly said “it just doesn't seem like a state call.”

Despite the legal hurdles, Trump has swept every GOP primary contest so far, taking easy wins in Michigan, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The ex-president still faces criminal cases in multiple states, however, including for his alleged interference in the 2020 election, a hush-money scheme with porn actress Stormy Daniels, as well as charges linked to the improper handling of classified material. Trump has denied any wrongdoing in each case, rejecting the allegations as politically motivated.