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Oregon Supreme Court declines for now to review challenge to Trump's eligibility for ballot

Next steps in Supreme Court ballot ban review
Supreme Court agrees to review Trump ballot ban — what now? 04:39

Washington — Oregon's Supreme Court said Friday that it would not hear a challenge from five voters seeking to keep former President Donald Trump off the state's 2024 Republican primary and general election ballots, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to take up the issue of Trump's eligibility.

The Oregon voters, represented by the liberal advocacy group Free Speech for People, asked the state high court in early December to direct the secretary of state to disqualify Trump from the primary and general election ballots, arguing he is constitutionally ineligible for the president under the Constitution's so-called insurrection clause.

Their request to the Oregon Supreme Court came after Secretary of State Lavonne Griffin-Valade, appointed by Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek, said she did not have the authority under state law to bar Trump from the primary ballot. Oregon's primary is scheduled for May 21, and ballots must be finalized by March 21.

But the Oregon Supreme Court declined for now to hear the challenge, saying a decision from the Supreme Court regarding the issue of Trump's eligibility "may resolve one or more contentions" that the voters make. The court said the voters are not precluded from filing a new petition to resolve any outstanding issues that may follow a decision from the nation's highest court.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said the decision from the Oregon Supreme Court was the "correct one."

"President Trump urges the swift dismissal of all remaining, bad-faith, election interference 14th Amendment ballot challenges as they are un-Constitutional attempts by allies of Crooked Joe Biden to disenfranchise millions of American voters and deny them their right to vote for the candidate of their choice," he said.

The legal battle over Trump's eligibility

The Supreme Court said last week that it would review a decision from Colorado's top court that found Trump is ineligible for the presidency under the Civil War-era insurrection clause and would keep him off the state's primary ballot. The justices are scheduled to hear arguments in the case Feb. 8, and a ruling could come quickly after arguments.

The decision from the Supreme Court could have nationwide implications and determine whether Trump can be on the ballot in all states. Iowa is set to hold its caucuses Monday, and more than a dozen states will hold their primary contests on March 5, Super Tuesday.

The constitutional provision at the center of the legal challenges, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, bars people who have sworn an oath to support the Constitution and then engaged in insurrection from holding federal office. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision last month that Trump is disqualified from serving as president again because of his conduct related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Colorado court put its decision on hold to allow Trump to appeal, and he and the Colorado Republican Party separately asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling.

The challenges to Trump's eligibility to appear on the presidential primary and general election ballots have been brought by voters across the country, though the Colorado Supreme Court is the only to find he is disqualified from serving a second term under Section 3. Maine's secretary of state determined last month that Trump is constitutionally ineligible for the state's primary ballot, but paused the effect of her decision to allow him to appeal. The secretary of state, Shenna Bellows, is the only to unilaterally determine Trump cannot hold office again.

The former president asked the Maine Superior Court to reverse the decision from Bellows, a Democrat.

State supreme courts in Michigan and Minnesota have allowed Trump to be listed on their primary ballots, while challenges filed with state election boards in Illinois and Massachusetts are pending.

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