The Illinois Elections Board has decided in a unanimous 8-0 ruling to keep former President Donald J. Trump on the state’s primary ballot. The decision comes just a week before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether Trump’s involvement in the January 6 Capitol breach disqualifies him from the presidency.
Despite findings by a retired judge and Republican hearing officer that there is a “preponderance of the evidence” suggesting Trump is ineligible to run for president due to a constitutional ban on those who have “engaged in insurrection,” the board has deferred the ultimate decision to the courts.
Republican Judge Clark Erickson advised the board to reject the complaint against Trump raised by the voters, citing that according to Illinois Supreme Court precedent, the Elections Board is barred from performing the “significant and sophisticated constitutional analysis” required for a decision.
However, Erickson noted that if the board held a different view on the matter of jurisdiction, he was of the opinion that they should then remove Trump from the primary ballot.
BREAKING: Illinois election board will allow Donald Trump to remain on primary ballot, says and they don’t have the authority to rule on 14th Amendment issue
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) January 30, 2024
“The evidence shows that President Trump understood the divided political climate in the United States,” Judge Erickson wrote, saying that Trump “exploited that climate for his own political gain by falsely and publicly claiming the election was stolen from him, even though every single piece of evidence demonstrated that his claim was demonstrably false.”
The US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Trump’s appeal of a Colorado ruling that declared him ineligible for the presidency. The case marks the first time the Supreme Court will address Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868 to prevent former Confederates from holding office.
Scholars have debated whether the 14th Amendment clause applies to Trump for his actions surrounding the 2020 presidential election. The Colorado case is the only one that has succeeded in court so far. Meanwhile, Maine’s Democratic Secretary of State also ruled Trump violated the 14th Amendment, but her decision is pending until the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, told MSNBC in December that she was “duty-bound” to make the decision. Republicans in Congress have argued that the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision encroached on their ability to express their powers. The court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment will not only affect Trump’s eligibility but could also set a precedent for future cases involving allegations of insurrection or rebellion against the United States.
The court is set to hear oral arguments on February 8 concerning the appeal from Colorado. Concurrently, as the primary season progresses and Trump maintains a significant lead among Republicans, the issues surrounding his eligibility are still pending in over 15 states.
The high court’s review will examine the appellate court’s ruling against three protestors accused of obstructing the certification of Electoral College votes by Congress. Four similar charges have been brought against President Trump by Biden Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, who has accused the Republican leader of inciting riots through social media posts encouraging supporters to protest the certification of President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.