A judge in the state of Washington has handed another big victory to former President Donald Trump as he battles the forces attempting to keep him off the ballot across multiple states.
In a decision late Thursday, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson denied a last-minute attempt to deny the former president access to the 2024 presidential ballot, concluding that the state’s Democratic secretary of state had acted “consistent with his duties” in allowing Trump to join the list of GOP contenders.
Groups of liberal voters and arms of the Democratic Party have filed lawsuits in at least 35 states attempting to keep President Trump off the ballot, according to the New York Times. So far, challenges have succeeded in only two states: Colorado, where the state’s highest court ruled Trump ineligible for committing insurrection, and in Maine where the Democratic secretary of state concluded the same and refused to add him to the Republican primary ballot. President Trump’s campaign has appealed both rulings.
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments regarding President Trump’s ballot access on February 8th in what is expected to be the final say on the matter.
As in other states, a coalition of Washington voters argued that President Trump committed insurrection on and around January 6th, 2021 and should be disqualified from running under Article III of the 14th Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. Steve Hobbs, the secretary of state, concluded that he does not have the power to remove the former president from the ballot.
Lawyers for the Washington state GOP disputed the lawsuit on technical grounds and argued that President Trump has not been convicted of any crime, making his ineligibility moot. Similarly, the president’s campaign has argued that only Congress has the power to decide whether he is guilty of crimes committed in office. The decision by Hobbs may be revisited depending on the Supreme Court’s ruling; state law allows for the removal of a candidate who has been convicted of a felony, and President Trump faces 91 felony charges across four criminal cases, two of those relating to J6.
President Joe Biden has largely shied from stating whether he believes his lead challenger has a right to remain on the ballot, those his Justice Department’s special counsel Jack Smith is attempting to expedite the federal government’s J6 trial against Trump before the November elections out of fear that Trump, if elected, could move to dismiss all charges.