Supreme Court grapples with Trump's eligibility to be president again after Capitol insurrection

Whether former president Donald Trump is eligible to be president again is being taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Lawyers fighting to keep his name off the ballot argued to the justices that Trump should be ineligible to be president because he spearheaded the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in an effort to overturn his 2020 election loss. 

In court filings, the lawyers urged the judges to uphold this constitutional duty and back Colorado's court decision to remove Trump from the 2024 Republican presidential primary ballot.

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"Nobody, not even a former President, is above the law," the lawyers wrote. 

In their plea to the court, the lawyers said, "Trump intentionally organized and incited a violent mob to attack the United States Capitol in a desperate effort to prevent the counting of electoral votes cast against him" after he lost the election to Democrat Joe Biden.

The court will hear arguments in less than two weeks.

At the center of the case is the 14th Amendment, which bans some people who "engaged in insurrection" from holding public office. The amendment was adopted in 1868, following the Civil War.

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The lawyers called for a decision that makes clear that what happened on Jan. 6 was an insurrection, for which Trump bears responsibility. The president is covered by the constitutional provision at issue, and Congress doesn’t need to take action before states can apply it, the lawyers wrote.

The written filing includes extensive details of Trump's actions leading up to Jan. 6, including his tweet on Dec. 19, 2020, in which he informed his followers of the planned protest on the day Congress would count the electoral votes and wrote, "Be there, will be wild."

Then in his speech to supporters on Jan. 6, the lawyers wrote, "Trump lit the fuse." The brief reproduces photographs of the mayhem from that day, including one of Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges pinned in a doorway during the attack.

On the other hand, Trump's lawyers argue that efforts to keep him off the ballot "threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans and ... promise to unleash chaos and bedlam" if other states follow Colorado's lead.

The Colorado Supreme Court's 4-3 ruling should be reversed for any of several reasons, Trump's lawyers wrote, including that Trump did not engage in insurrection and that the presidency is not covered by the amendment. They also contend that Congress would have to enact legislation before states could invoke the provision to keep candidates off the ballot.

Still, both sides have said the court needs to act quickly so that voters know whether Trump is eligible to hold the presidency.

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