Supreme Court Puts Final Nail in Coffin of Effort to Block Trump From Ballot in Arizona

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
April 23, 2024Supreme Court
Supreme Court Puts Final Nail in Coffin of Effort to Block Trump From Ballot in Arizona
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives to court for his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 23, 2024. (Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images)

The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a final blow to an effort to block former President Donald Trump from the presidential ballot in Arizona by refusing to hear an appeal from a man who’s waged a legal battle in dozens of states to get the former president disqualified over the Jan. 6 incident.

The high court has denied a petition for a writ of certiorari from John Castro, a registered Republican candidate for U.S. president in 2024, who fought in court to block President Trump from the ballot in Arizona, and elsewhere, according to an April 22 order list.

The Supreme Court’s denial of Mr. Castro’s request for review effectively upholds a lower court ruling from December 2023 that rejected Mr. Castro’s claim that President Trump should be barred from the ballot because he “gave aid and comfort to insurrectionists on January 6, 2021.”

In his lawsuit, Mr. Castro filed a motion in September 2023 seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would have forced Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes to block President Trump from appearing on the state’s presidential ballot, based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Mr. Castro’s failed Arizona lawsuit was one of 27 cases that he brought against the former president on the same grounds.

In his 12-page opinion and order, U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes ruled that Mr. Castro’s lawsuit “must be dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction because Castro lacks standing to bring his claim.”

Mr. Castro appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which on April 22 put the final nail in the coffin of his lawsuit by denying review.

While the high court did not provide a reason for rejecting Mr. Castro’s appeal, but it’s likely related to a March 4 decision by the Supreme Court that said President Trump can’t be removed from the ballot by individual states—only by Congress—while overturning a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that disqualified him under the 14th Amendment.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Mr. Castro, Mr. Fontes, and the Trump campaign for comment.

When the Supreme Court ruled in March to disallow individual states from blocking him from the ballot, President Trump reacted by saying it was a “big win for America.”

14th Amendment Cases

The obscure legal theory that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies President Trump from holding office was first circulated by activist groups after the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.

The thrust picked up steam in 2023, after President Trump announced his intention to run for the presidency. The effort was based on an interpretation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which is known as the disqualification clause. It states that no person shall hold office if they have “previously taken an oath as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States” and engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution.

The left-leaning group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sued the Colorado secretary of state to block President Trump from appearing on the ballot, arguing that “officer of the United States” would surely cover the highest office in the federal government, and so the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause should apply.

On appeal, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. president is a public “officer” and so the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause did apply, blocking President Trump from the ballot in that state.

That decision was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in March unanimously overturned the Colorado Supreme Court ruling.

“Responsibility for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates rests with Congress and not the States. The judgment of the Colorado Supreme Court therefore cannot stand,” reads the high court’s March 4 order, which was issued just one day before more than a dozen states held their primary elections.

The high court noted a distinct lack of historical precedent in which states used Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to disqualify national candidates.

“As an initial matter, not even the respondents contend that the Constitution authorizes States to somehow remove sitting federal officeholders who may be violating Section 3,” the opinion reads, noting that this sort of power would “flout” constitutional principles.

Since that ruling, President Trump has become the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election.

Despite winning the battle to remain on the ballot, he faces numerous legal cases, including several criminal ones, that he and his supporters argue are politically motivated attempts to undermine his presidential comeback bid.

From The Epoch Times

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