AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

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On Thursday, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding Colorado’s ruling that 2024 GOP frontrunner and former President Donald Trump is ineligible to run for public office.

In December, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which disqualifies candidates who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” The state justices cited the speech Trump delivered to his supporters prior to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, as an example of his support for an insurrection.

Outlets across the spectrum on Thursday agreed that the justices appeared skeptical of the Colorado ruling. Trump’s legal team focused on three key points in opposition to Colorado’s ruling, arguing that Congress alone could enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, that the President of the United States was not included within the scope of the disqualification provision, and that Trump’s actions did not meet the criteria to classify as an insurrection.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts stated that the Colorado ruling could lead to more states deeming candidates ineligible, warning that it “will come down to just a handful of states that are going to decide the presidential election. That's a pretty daunting consequence.” Liberal Justice Elena Kagan stated, “I think that the question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States.”

A writer in the L.A. Times (Lean Left bias) expects the Supreme Court to overturn the Colorado decision, deeming the court will seek to avoid throwing “more fuel on the raging election-year American partisan political fire.” While expressing “mixed feelings” regarding the Colorado decision, the writer determined that Trump "has shown himself to have little regard for the rule of law, the Constitution or the American people," concluding, “Will the justices choose Trump, or the rule of law?”

In the New York Times Opinion (Left bias), a professor who wrote an amicus brief for the case called for the justices to seek a ruling that is "originalist, modest and respectful of America’s democratic federalism." The writer outlines the events that led to the passing of the 14th Amendment, concluding, "The Constitution is best read to safeguard intricate federalism over pure nationalism — and the Supreme Court’s ruling should reflect that principle."

A writer in The Federalist (Right bias) outlined the “two well-funded leftist groups” behind the effort to remove Trump from the ballot, determining one of the groups, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, “does the legal bidding of the far left.” The writer concluded the true goal of the groups is to “dramatically alter the Supreme Court as we know it” and “usurp democracy.”

A writer in the National Review (Right bias) focused on another element of the Colorado ruling that determined Trump's speech shortly before the Capitol riot was "incitement" and not protected by the First Amendment. The writer concluded the Supreme Court upholding this ruling would have "unintended consequences," adding, "The Supreme Court should ensure that advocates and dissidents can continue making passionate and even angry rhetorical challenges to the political status quo without fear that a court could misconstrue their speech and impose penalties or even prison."

An analysis in Roll Call (Center bias) explored one potential outcome of the court’s ruling. Trump’s legal team has argued that Section 3 only prohibits a candidate from holding office, not running for it. Should this argument prevail, and should Trump win in November, it would “risk a potential constitutional showdown for Congress on the day they count the electoral votes.”

The Colorado Republican primary is scheduled for March 5, less than a month away.

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More from the Right

The Supreme Court’s Colorado Trump Test
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board (opinion)

"The best course for the country would be for the Justices to settle this case on the narrow legal issues, and not to enter the political fight over whether Jan. 6 was an insurrection. The Justices don’t need to go there if they find that Section 3 doesn’t cover the President. A 9-0 decision would send a unified message to the country that Colorado is wrong on the law."

More from the Center

Trump’s 14th Amendment case reaches Supreme Court: What to expect
The Hill

"Former President Trump’s lawyers are set for a historic Supreme Court showdown Thursday as they appear before the justices in an attempt to demolish lawsuits challenging Trump’s ballot eligibility under the 14th Amendment. Thursday’s oral arguments are set to be the most momentous milestone yet in the patchwork of challenges seeking to prevent Trump’s return to the White House due to his actions surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack."

More from the Left

Why the Supreme Court ought to punt on Trump’s eligibility
Washington Post (opinion)

"The country is at a point where states are disqualifying a major-party candidate under the Constitution’s insurrection clause. That itself shows that instability is a real risk. But there is no procedural end run around this problem, which is fundamentally one of polarization and a loss of political legitimacy. The best course for the Supreme Court in those circumstances is probably to protect its own institutional interests and hope that the elected branches can heal themselves."

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