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Trump is disqualified from Illinois ballot, judge rules

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Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Winthrop Coliseum ahead of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary in Rock Hill, South Carolina, U.S., February 23, 2024. 

An Illinois state judge on Wednesday barred Donald Trump from appearing on the Illinois’ Republican presidential primary ballot because of his role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but she delayed her ruling from taking effect in light of an expected appeal by the former U.S. president.

Cook County Circuit Judge Tracie Porter sided with Illinois voters who argued that the former president should be disqualified from the state’s March 19 primary ballot and its Nov. 5 general election ballot for violating the anti-insurrection clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

The final outcome of the Illinois case and similar challenges will likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard arguments related to Trump’s ballot eligibility on Feb. 8.

Porter said she was staying her decision because she expected his appeal to Illinois’ appellate courts, and a potential ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The advocacy group Free Speech For People, which spearheaded the Illinois disqualification effort, praised the ruling as a “historic victory” in a statement.

A campaign spokesperson for Trump, the national frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, said in a statement this “is an unconstitutional ruling that we will quickly appeal.”

Colorado and Maine earlier removed Trump from their state ballots after determining he is disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Both decisions are on hold while Trump appeals.

Section 3 bars from public office anyone who took an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and then has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, attacked police and swarmed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Trump gave an incendiary speech to supporters beforehand, telling them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” He then for hours did not act on requests that he urge the mob to stop.

The Supreme Court is currently weighing Trump’s challenge to his Colorado disqualification. The justices in Washington appeared skeptical of the decision during oral arguments in the case, expressing concerns about states taking sweeping actions that could affect the national election.

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