The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Monday delivered a stunning blow to Anti-Trump forces seeking to keep the former president off the Commonwealth’s March 5th primary ballot.
Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Frank Gaziano did not directly address the argument that former President Donald Trump is ineligible to run again under the 14th Amendment, saying instead that such a ruling would be “ripe” only if Trump becomes his party’s nominee.
“The petitioners’ objections have, in essence, come too soon,” Gaziano wrote.
NEW: A SJC judge has denied a petition seeking to remove Donald Trump's name from Massachusetts' GOP primary ballot, days after a state panel did the same. In doing so, Justice Frank Gaziano did not address the underlying argument that Trump should be disqualified 1/2
— Matt Stout (@MattPStout) January 29, 2024
The case, brought by high-profile Democratic attorney activist Shannon Liss-Reardon, came late in the process among at least 35 states where Trump’s eligibility was challenged. Most petitioners have argued that the Republican frontrunner committed “insurrection” relating to the January 6th, 2021 breach at the Capitol and is therefore unfit for office. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that individuals guilty of insurrection may not run for federal office, a measure put in place following the Civil War to ensure that Confederate sympathizers did not gain a foothold in the Union following Reconstruction.
The defeat by Liss-Reardon comes shortly after Maine’s highest court restricted the state’s Democratic secretary of state from moving to ban Trump from the ballot, saying no decision could be made until the challenge is reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Arguments for and against President Trump’s eligibility will take place on February 8th.
Besides the pending Maine decision, the president’s only other setback has come in Colorado, where the state Supreme Court ruled Trump an insurrectionist in a decision that court observers believe could backfire spectacularly.
In past statements, the Trump campaign has wielded its argument that the forces supporting President Joe Biden are weaponizing the nation’s court systems to keep his leading rival from returning to the White House. President Trump leads Biden in virtually every swing state poll.
“Crooked Joe Biden was dealt a devastating in blow in his desperate attempt to remove President Trump’s name from the ballot and to deprive tens of millions of Americans of the right to vote for the candidate of their choice,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said.
“This disenfranchisement effort, lead by Crooked Joe’s Democrat acolyte and desperate partisan Secretary of State, was soundly rejected by Maine’s Supreme Court in a dismissal of the Secretary’s appeal of a prior order, which kept President Trump on the ballot,” Cheung added.