The Supreme Court’s decision on whether Colorado can take former President Donald Trump off the ballot in the 2024 election may be one of the most consequential in its history. The case will turn on the court’s interpretation of Amendment 14, Section 3 of the Constitution, which bars any previous elected official from holding office if they participated in an insurrection. When making their case, Colorado followed the logic of a law review article co-authored last year by University of Chicago Prof. William Baude. The article drew a ton of attention, in part because Baude is a conservative legal scholar and member of the Federalist Society.
As the Supreme Court begins oral arguments on Feb. 8, Baude joined Big Brains to make his case for why he thinks Section 3 applies to Trump. But this isn’t an episode about what should happen at the Supreme Court, it’s about what could happen. Whether you agree with Baude or not, understanding the legal theory behind his argument is crucial to understanding any decision that may come from the court. And, as we walk through the scholarship on Section 3, it’ll become clear that there are more than just two outcomes: on or off the ballot, but many outcomes…some with ramifications—including a possible constitutional crisis—all the way to Jan. 6, 2025.
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