The United States Supreme Court has announced that it will hear a landmark case to decide whether Donald Trump can run for president.
The justices agreed to hear Mr. Trump’s appeal against Colorado’s decision to exclude him from the 2024 ballot.
The case will be heard in February, and the decision will be binding throughout the country.
Several states have filed lawsuits seeking to disqualify Mr. Trump, claiming that he engaged in revolt during the US Capitol riot three years ago.
The legal challenges hinge on whether a Civil War-era constitutional amendment disqualifies Mr. Trump from running for president.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear Mr. Trump’s appeal after attorneys general from 27 states filed a brief urging the court to overturn Colorado’s decision.
They claim that removing Mr. Trump from the ballot would cause “widespread chaos.”
“Most obviously, it adds confusion to an election cycle that is only a few weeks away,” the submission states.
“Beyond that, it upsets the respective roles of the Congress, the States, and the courts.”
The US Constitution’s 14th Amendment prohibits anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding federal office, but the former president’s lawyers argue that it does not apply to the president.
His legal team has argued: “The Colorado Supreme Court decision would unconstitutionally disenfranchise millions of voters in Colorado and likely be used as a template to disenfranchise tens of millions of voters nationwide.”
Mr. Trump has also filed an appeal against a decision by Maine election officials to remove him from the ballot.
Following the announcement by the Supreme Court on Friday, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold stated that she had certified the state’s ballots for the upcoming presidential primary elections and that Mr Trump’s name was on them.
The primary elections in each state will help determine which presidential candidates will run in the November election.
Colorado’s is scheduled for early March, shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision in Mr Trump’s case is expected.
“The Supreme Court of the United States has accepted the case, and Donald Trump will appear on the ballot as a result,” Ms Griswold said in a statement.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision last month was the first time in US history that the 14th Amendment was used to disqualify a presidential candidate from the ballot.
The Supreme Court will decide how to interpret the clause for the first time.
Mr Trump is the current Republican front-runner for a rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden in the November election.
Attempts to disqualify Mr Trump have been rejected by courts in Minnesota and Michigan. Other cases are pending, including one in Oregon.
The US Supreme Court has a conservative majority, with three justices appointed by President Trump.
However, they ruled overwhelmingly against him in his lawsuits challenging his 2020 loss to Mr. Biden.
The court agreed on Friday to expedite the case, with oral arguments scheduled for February 8th.
Mr. Trump’s legal team must file their opening brief by January 18th.
The group arguing for Mr. Trump’s disqualification must file its case by January 31.
The involvement of the highest US court has prompted comparisons to the 2000 presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore, which resulted in a Supreme Court lawsuit.
The decision by the conservative-majority court to halt Florida’s vote recount effectively handed Mr Bush victory.
According to Cart Tobias of the University of Richmond, the “exceptionally fast track” was “predictable and necessitated by the growing number of cases filed in various states across the country.”
With state primary elections on the horizon, there is a “compelling need for election officials in many states to prepare,” as well as “time to plan and execute smooth voting processes on short notice.”
Cases at the Supreme Court typically take four to twelve months, as opposed to the few weeks that justices have currently scheduled.
The timeline suggests that the court will rule before the Super Tuesday primary election in March when Colorado and many other states vote to determine each party’s presidential candidate.
Supporters of Mr Trump stormed Congress on the day of the US Capitol riot, as lawmakers were certifying Mr Biden’s election victory.
That day, the then-president held a rally outside the White House, urging protesters to “fight like hell” while also marching “peacefully” to the Capitol.
His detractors argue that he should be disqualified not only for his actions during the riot but also for his and his campaign’s efforts to overturn the election results in Republican-aligned states where he lost.
While Mr. Trump’s alleged efforts to sway the outcome of the 2020 presidential election are the subject of trials in federal court and a state court in Georgia, he has not been charged criminally with inciting insurgency in either case.