Supreme Court rules Trump will stay on ballot, overruling states

Former President Donald Trump will remain on the ballot this election year after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday unanimously overruled a ruling issued by the Colorado Supreme Court.

The ruling means Trump is all but certain to face President Joe Biden in November.

Trump continues to win delegates to make him the Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential race. He needs to accrue 1,215 delegates to formally clinch the party’s nomination and could reach that number later this month.

His main opponent is former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, whose win in Washington DC this weekend was her only primary victory. But Haley has vowed to stay in the race through Super Tuesday, which is this week.

RELATED: Trump asks Supreme Court to delay his election interference trial

The court’s ruling largely ends efforts in Colorado, Maine, Illinois and elsewhere to prevent his name from appearing on the ballot, but the former president still faces a number of other criminal and civil cases

What did the Supreme Court say?

In the 9-0 ruling, the justices cited several reasons to overturn the Colorado decision, including the idea that one state or a few states could determine the national election.

"The ‘patchwork’ that would likely result from state enforcement would ‘sever the direct link that the Framers found so critical between the National Government and the people of the United States’ as a whole," they wrote in the unsigned opinion.

Ultimately, the justices determined that Congress, not the states, has the power to implement the 14th Amendment, which is the clause of the Constitution cited in the Colorado case that was adopted after the Civil War to prevent former officeholders who "engaged in insurrection" from holding office again.

"…the text of the Fourteenth Amendment, on its face, does not affirmatively delegate such a power to the States. The terms of the Amendment speak only to enforcement by Congress," they stated.

PDF: Read the full Supreme Court decision

Reaction to the Supreme Court ruling

Trump posted on his social media network shortly after the decision was released: "BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!"

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold expressed disappointment in the court's decision as she acknowledged that "Donald Trump is an eligible candidate on Colorado’s 2024 Presidential Primary."

Colorado’s effort to keep Trump off 2024 ballot

Last December, a divided Colorado Supreme Court declared Trump ineligible for the White House under the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause and removed him from the state’s presidential primary ballot.

"We do not reach these conclusions lightly," wrote the court’s majority. "We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach."

Colorado’s highest court overturned a ruling from a district court judge who found that Trump incited an insurrection for his role in the attack on the Capitol, but said he could not be barred from the ballot because it was unclear that the provision was intended to cover the presidency.

Trump appealed to the nation’s highest court, and both sides agreed that the justices should take up the case and issue a conclusive ruling soon.

RELATED: Trump Colorado ballot case goes before seemingly skeptical US Supreme Court

The case was brought by Trump critics who are registered as Republican and independent voters in Colorado, but organized by a liberal public interest group. The Colorado Supreme Court’s seven justices were entirely appointed by Democrats, though they split 4-3 in ruling against Trump.

Trump lost Colorado by 13 percentage points in 2020 and doesn’t need the state to win this year’s presidential election.

Maine joins Colorado in effort to keep Trump off ballot

Also last December, Maine’s Democratic secretary of state removed Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot under the Constitution’s insurrection clause.

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows found that Trump could no longer run for his prior job because his role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol violated Section 3, which bans from office those who "engaged in insurrection." Bellows made the ruling after some state residents, including a bipartisan group of former lawmakers, challenged Trump’s position on the ballot.

While Maine has just four electoral votes, it’s one of two states to split them. Trump won one of Maine’s electors in 2020, so having him off the ballot there, should he emerge as the Republican general election candidate, could have outsized implications in a race that is expected to be narrowly decided.

Illinois rules against Trump

Last week, with less than three weeks until Illinois' primary election, a Cook County judge ordered the Illinois State Board of Elections to remove Trump from the state's primary ballot.

Judge Tracie Porter told the board to remove Trump or "cause any votes cast for him to be suppressed," for violating section three of the 14th Amendment, or the "disqualification clause," for engaging in insurrection, according to court documents.

That order was later stayed after Trump appealed the ruling.

What is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment?

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits anyone who swore an oath to support the Constitution and then "engaged in insurrection" against it from holding office.

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The clause was added in 1868 to keep defeated Confederates from returning to their former positions of power in local and federal government. It prohibits anyone who broke an oath to "support" the Constitution from holding office.

Has Section 3 of the 14th Amendment even been used?

It’s the first time in history the provision has been used to prohibit someone from running for the presidency.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the meaning of Section 3.

Legal historians believe the only time the provision was used in the 20th Century was in 1919, when it was cited to deny a House seat to a socialist who had opposed U.S. involvement in World War I.

Trump’s alleged role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot

In December 2022, the House Jan. 6 committee’s final report asserted Trump criminally engaged in a "multi-part conspiracy" to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election and failed to act to stop his supporters from attacking the Capitol.

Trump "lit that fire," the committee’s chairman, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, wrote.

RELATED: Jan. 6 prosecutions: A look at cases, charges by the numbers

The 814-page report released late Thursday came after the panel interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses, held 10 hearings and obtained more than a million pages of documents. The witnesses — ranging from many of Trump’s closest aides to law enforcement to some of the rioters themselves — detailed Trump’s "premeditated" actions in the weeks ahead of the attack and how his wide-ranging efforts to overturn his defeat directly influenced those who brutally pushed past the police and smashed through the windows and doors of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In a series of recommendations, the seven Democrats and two Republicans on the committee suggest that Congress consider barring Trump from holding future office. The findings should be a "clarion call to all Americans: to vigilantly guard our Democracy and to give our vote only to those dutiful in their defense of our Constitution," says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a foreword to the report.

Trump’s repeated, false claims of widespread voter fraud resonated with his supporters, the committee said, and were amplified on social media, building on the distrust of government he had fostered for his four years in office. And he did little to stop them when they resorted to violence and stormed the Capitol, interrupting the certification of Biden’s victory.

Was Trump charged for his role in the Jan. 6 riot?

In 2021, Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time, charged with "incitement of insurrection."

He was acquitted by the U.S. Senate. Even after voting to acquit, the Republican leader Mitch McConnell condemned the former president as "practically and morally responsible" for the insurrection. McConnell contended Trump could not be convicted because he was gone from the White House.

Can Trump even be prosecuted?

In a case separate from the Colorado ballot ruling, the Supreme Court last week agreed to hear arguments in late April over whether Trump can be criminally prosecuted on election interference charges, including his role in the Jan. 6 riot. The court's decision to step into the charged case, also with little in the way of precedent to guide it, calls into question whether Trump will stand trial before the November election.

RELATED: Donald Trump cases: Tracking civil, criminal charges against former president

The former president faces 91 criminal charges in four prosecutions. Of those, the only one with a trial date that seems on track to hold is his state case in New York, where he’s charged with falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments to a porn actor. That case is set for trial on March 25, and the judge has signaled his determination to press ahead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.