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Trump To Decline Supreme Court Appearance During Case on Ballot Eligibility

Source near legal team says 'There is no upside to him attending these arguments'

Trump To Decline Supreme Court Appearance During Case on Ballot Eligibility

On Feb. 8, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on whether former President Donald Trump is able to be removed from the ballot in Colorado over claims that his actions around the Jan 6. 2021 Capitol riot amounted to insurrection.

Less than two months ago, Colorado’s highest court ruled in a 4-3 decision “that Trump is disqualified from holding the office of president under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment” of the U.S. Constitution, which disqualifies a person who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office.

In a subsequent court filing, Trump’s legal team outlined why state officials erred in removing his name from the ballot.

His attorneys explained that even if the Colorado Supreme Court were able to consider challenges to presidential eligibility, “which it cannot,” the court misapplied the law. Trump, they wrote, falls outside the scope of Section 3 because the president is not “an officer of the United States,” as the text of the provision reads, he took a different oath than the one listed in Section 3, and the presidency is not an “office under the United States,” as spelled out in the constitution.

Additionally, Trump’s attorneys said that he “in no way ‘engaged’ in ‘insurrection’” and, more broadly, the question of presidential eligibility is reserved for congress, not state courts. “By considering the question of President Trump’s eligibility and barring him from the ballot,” the lawyers state, “the Colorado Supreme Court arrogated Congress’ authority.”

Now, the case will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, the most significant election-related case the justices have taken up since the Court’s controversial ruling in Bush v. Gore in 2000.

Unlike other recent high-profile court hearings, Trump is not expected to appear at the U.S. Supreme Court for arguments, unnamed sources told CNN. Rather, he will be at his palatial estate at Mar-a-Lago in Florida before heading to a Nevada caucus victory party.

“There is no upside to him attending these arguments,” a source close to the legal team told CNN. “Trump understands how serious this is – the stakes could not be higher.”

One source who spoke with the news outlet said that some within Trump’s orbit believe his outbursts during the recent E. Jean Carroll defamation trial and the New York civil fraud trial negatively impacted the case with the judge and jury.

A separate source told CNN that Trump has privately expressed concern that his appearance may prompt justices to go harder on him to avoid the appearance of bias.

The Court currently holds a 6-3 conservative-appointed majority, with three judges who were nominated and confirmed during Trump’s presidency.

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