The Supreme Court’s Political Hack of the Colorado Ballot

On Thursday, the oligarchy known as the U.S. Supreme Court–many of whose justices pretend to be guided in all analyses and decisions by a textualist constitutional legal philosophy, social consequences be damned–signaled that if they uphold Colorado’s decision to exclude Trump from the 2024 ballot, chaos will ensue in the form of disparate and potentially retaliatory actions across the different states.

Concern for disparate state results didn’t stop SCOTUS from overturning decades of settled abortion rights precedent. So once again, the Justices reveal that they are first and foremost flawed people swayed by politics like the rest of us, and that their precious originalism is just another malleable tool in their results-driven arsenal.

Colorado Solicitor Shannon Stevenson made the best argument in response, when she simply pointed out that federalism is messy and we rely on multiple institutions and processes to steer us through choppy waters (as if everything about Trump’s candidacy, Presidency, and candidacy again won’t breed chaos or full-on institutional collapse, anyway).

As for Trump’s argument that Congress would first need to enact enabling legislation before states could enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, that would simply punt, not avert the political quagmire the Justices indicated should be prevented.

The other canard that the Justices latched onto–that Colorado shouldn’t be able to decide the Presidential election for the rest of the country, is (a) a speculative reduction of many moving parts, and (b) the height of hypocrisy coming from the body that coronated Bush over Gore by stopping the Florida recount in 2000, thereby letting a “subset” of Florida voters (not even one whole state!), decide the outcome of that Presidential election for the entire country. Just think about the disenfranchisement and enduring social chaos that ensued from that political hack by the Supreme Court.

Ben Rosenfeld is a civil rights attorney in San Francisco. Twitter: @benrosenfeldlaw.