Trump Will Remain on Illinois Ballot Pending Appeal, Judge Clarifies in New Order

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
February 29, 20242024 Elections
Trump Will Remain on Illinois Ballot Pending Appeal, Judge Clarifies in New Order
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gestures to supporters after speaking at a Get Out The Vote rally at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., on Feb. 23, 2024. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump will remain on the Illinois primary ballot pending an appeal after a judge issued a new order on Thursday clarifying the duration of a stay on her earlier decision to disqualify him.

On Thursday, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Tracie Porter clarified the duration of a stay she placed on her removal order on Wednesday when she ruled President Trump “disqualified” and that any votes for him would be void if the order went into effect.

Judge Porter had initially stayed that original removal order until March 1, anticipating an appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, or the Illinois Supreme Court, and/or pending a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case from Colorado.

However, the language in the stay was deemed vague, prompting President Trump’s attorneys to seek clarification on Thursday, and request a ruling by 12 p.m., or they would file an emergency motion in the appeals court to stay the ruling.

In response to the notice of appeal filed by President Trump’s attorneys, Judge Porter modified her original stay on Thursday.

The removal order was modified to state that it is stayed until the appeal is “finally resolved by the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, the Illinois Supreme Court, and/or the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Furthermore, the new order directed that “the Illinois State Board of Elections shall continue to include Candidate Donald J. Trump on the ballot for the March 19, 2024, General Primary Election” until the appeal is resolved.

President Trump’s legal team had requested the emergency stay, arguing that the uncertainty surrounding the stay’s duration—originally until March 1—could lead to logistical difficulties for election officials and voter confusion. The March 19 primary in Illinois is fast approaching, with ballots already printed featuring President Trump’s name and mail-in ballots sent to voters.

Legal Issue

The saga began in January when five Illinois voters, backed by the activist group Free Speech for People, sought President Trump’s disqualification, arguing based on the Democrat-led January 6 Select Committee report that the events of Jan. 6, 2021, constituted an “insurrection” as described in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The bipartisan Illinois State Board of Elections, made up equally of Republicans and Democrats, unanimously voted to keep President Trump on the ballot, asserting that they lacked the authority to analyze constitutional issues. One of the Republican members of the board made a point of stating that she believed President Trump’s actions constituted insurrection.

The voters took the matter to the circuit court for appeal following the Board of Elections’ decision. They have argued that the board’s ruling implied it could “never” enforce the candidacy requirements set out in the U.S. or Illinois constitutions. The arguments also focused on whether the election board had created a new issue in determining whether a candidate knowingly lied on his or her application to appear on state ballots.

President Trump’s legal team argues that the matters at hand are administrative state law questions that could be addressed after the Supreme Court rules on his eligibility.

The argument that President Trump is ineligible has been put forward to election officials and courts across the country, citing an interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection” clause as the basis for states being empowered to disqualify a presidential candidate.

The ultimate decision on President Trump’s eligibility is expected to rest with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The former president’s legal team had also previously urged Judge Porter to withhold judgment until the Supreme Court issues its decision. Despite these arguments, Judge Porter ruled that state law permits officials to remove ineligible candidates.

Catherine Yang contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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