Illinois judge boots Trump off the ballot

 February 29, 2024

A federal judge in Illinois kicked Donald Trump off the ballot on Wednesday, giving a jolt to a longshot effort that the Supreme Court seems likely to strike down. 

President Trump promptly appealed the decision from Judge Tracie Porter in Cook County, Illinois.

The ruling could interfere with the state's upcoming Republican primary on March 19, which will award a high number of delegates. Early voting has already started.

Trump off the ballot in Illinois

Porter overturned the unanimous decision of the Illinois State Board of Elections, which voted to keep Trump on the ballot while deferring to the courts.

The Illinois ruling isn't likely to last, with the Supreme Court expected to overturn the Colorado ruling that disqualified Trump under the 14th Amendment's "insurrection ban."

Porter pointed to the Colorado Supreme Court's findings in her own decision, which she paused until Friday to let Trump appeal.

"The court also realizes the magnitude of this decision and its impact on the upcoming primary Illinois elections," she wrote.

Trump's team blasted Porter, a Democrat, as an "activist judge" and vowed to challenge the "unconstitutional ruling."

Lawyers for Trump filed an appeal Thursday and asked the judge to clarify the length of her pause, with the primary rapidly approaching.

Supreme Court weighs ballot dispute

Trump was kicked off the ballot late last year in Maine and Colorado, but both decisions were paused pending his court battle.

Trump has warned that upholding his ballot ban would set a dangerous precedent for democracy and unleash chaos throughout the country.

The Supreme Court sounded receptive to those concerns during a February 8 hearing on the Colorado case.

The justices appeared skeptical of letting individual states enforce the "insurrection" ban, given the ambiguity of the term "insurrection" and the likelihood that the ban would be abused. They also cast doubt on whether the ban's language on "federal officers" was even meant to apply to presidents.

Porter's ruling was overshadowed by the Supreme Court's separate decision Wednesday to consider Trump's claims of immunity from criminal prosecution. The court's decision raises the possibility that Trump's January 6th trial will be delayed past the 2024 election.

Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate in the election, has blasted the various legal cases against him as an effort to interfere in the contest.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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