Trump Appeals Illinois Judge's Ruling Kicking Him Off Primary Ballot

CHICAGO — Former President Donald Trump is appealing an Illinois judge’s ruling that he is ineligible for reelection due to his participation in an “insurrection or rebellion” on Jan. 6, 2021.

Cook County Circuit Judge Tracie Porter on Wednesday ordered the removal of Trump’s name from the ballot in the March 19 Republican primary election.

The ruling, which Porter put on hold until Friday in anticipation of an appeal, makes Illinois the third state where authorities have found the presumptive GOP nominee is constitutionally prohibited from returning to the White House.

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Trump’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal hours after the ruling, according to an emergency motion in which they ask appellate courts to keep Porter’s judgment on ice until it is decided by appeals court to “reduce the great risk of voter confusion and logistical difficulties for election officials.”

Porter’s order reversed last month’s decision by the Illinois State Board of Elections to dismiss objections by a group of voters who alleged Trump is disqualified from the ballot by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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The elections board found that it was not permitted to interpret the constitution and the issue would have to be settled by the courts. The hearing officer, retired Republican judge Clark Erickson, nonetheless determined that Trump had engaged in insurrection by a “preponderance of evidence.”

Porter said it was “shocking” that the electoral board had refused to make any factual determinations about what happened on Jan. 6, given the evidence.

“[H]owever, the members of the Electoral Board, in this Court’s summation, made it clear from the hearing transcript that they wanted to get as far away from this case as possible, likely given its notoriety,” the judge said.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in December to kick Trump off the ballot. An appeal of that decision is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices sounded skeptical of the judges excluding candidates from the ballot on a state-by-state basis.

Judges in Maine are also awaiting the high court’s decision on the Colorado case to decide what to do about Democratic Secretary of State Shenna Bellows’ decision to keep Trump off the ballot there. Both Maine and Colorado are due to vote Tuesday, and Trump’s name will be printed on both ballots.

Because the Colorado high court had found Trump had engaged in insurrection the prior month, the former president “falsely swore” that he was “legally qualified” for the office on his Illinois elections petitions in January, according to Porter’s 38-page ruling.

“This Court shares the Colorado Supreme Court’s sentiments that did not reach its conclusions lightly,” the Cook County judge said. “This Court also realizes the magnitude of this decision and its impact on the upcoming primary Illinois elections.”

The Constitution’s so-called “insurrection clause” was drawn up to restrict U.S. officials who had defected to the Confederate States of America from holding office.

It was only invoked once from the time Congress granted amnesty to most former Confederates in 1876 until the Capitol riot — to block Milwaukee socialist Victor Berger from serving in the House of Representatives even though he was elected twice.

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, said in a statement following Wednesday’s ruling that “Soros-funded Democrat front-group” are trying to interfere with the election.

“Today, an activist Democrat judge in Illinois summarily overruled the state’s board of elections and contradicted earlier decisions from dozens of other states and federal jurisdictions,” Cheung said. “This is an unconstitutional ruling that we will quickly appeal.”

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Attorneys for the Illinois objectors described Porter’s ruling as part of a growing number of rulings establishing Trump’s role in the Capitol riots.

“This is a historic victory,” said Ron Fein, legal director of the co-lead counsel, Free Speech For People. “Every court or official that has addressed the merits of Trump’s constitutional eligibility has found that he engaged in insurrection after taking the oath of office and is therefore disqualified from the presidency.”


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