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The Political Fallout of Trump’s Insurrection Exoneration

The Supreme Court ruling upsets the narrative.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of former President Donald Trump against the effort to remove him from the primary ballot in Colorado. While this will have immediate echoes in Maine and Illinois, it also sends a strong message to other states (at least a dozen) who have been considering using Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to quash Trump’s electoral ambitions. But perhaps more importantly, the narrative that has dominated the Fourth Estate since January 6, 2021, has just collapsed.

Who Has the Power?

Issuing a timely order in Trump v. Anderson, the justices said in no uncertain terms that states do not have the power to disqualify a president under the so-called insurrection clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Further, they explained that “the Constitution makes Congress, rather than the States, responsible for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates.” They then reversed the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court that led to Trump’s precarious position on the GOP primary ballot, meaning today’s Super Tuesday contests can continue unhindered.

“We conclude that States may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office. But States have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency,” the ruling reads.

So, who then is responsible for trying and – if guilty – punishing a president in this case? That would be the House of Representatives bringing the case, and the Senate acting as the jury.

Many might recall that in Feb. 2021, House Democrats launched their second impeachment of Trump with just a single article: the incitement of insurrection. Evidence was presented, a Hollywood producer stage-managed the entire event, and the 100-strong Senate chamber delivered its verdict. Trump was acquitted.

The former president may be – as House Democrats enjoyed pointing out – twice-impeached “forever.” But he was also acquitted “forever” of the very crime that the Supreme Court now says only Congress could prosecute.

Clear and Unequivocal

Despite recent media meltdowns over the alleged bias of the Supreme Court, this decision went beyond even just simple unanimity. In fact, this was a “per curiam” decision. When all nine justices vote the same, they often do so for different reasons or points of law, so while the result may be unanimous, the paths to the ruling may not. With a per curiam decision, it means the court has spoken with one voice, and for the same exact reason.

No press pundits can argue that a conservative majority court overrode the Constitution, or that “right-wing justices” have hijacked the court to save Trump. While some justices wrote separately that the larger questions need not have been answered, there was no dissent to the main premise that a president could not be brought to heel under the “insurrection clause.”

As columnist and former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen noted on Fox News after the decision was released:

“This is a huge repudiation of the left’s efforts to delegitimize the US Supreme Court and accuse them of being politicized. This is a nine-nothing smackdown of the left’s efforts to politicize the law. That’s what happened here.”

The Fourth Estate Fraud

The strategy of using the “insurrection clause” to disqualify Trump has been given a prized position in the left-leaning media. They treated it as a “slam dunk” case that could only be undone by “partisan” jurists in the nation’s highest court. But this was never the reality. In fact, the three states that launched such challenges were, as legal scholar Jonathan Turley described them, “outliers.”

Forty-seven other states did not press the case; even in Colorado, three of the seven judges who sit on the state’s supreme court demurred on the decision to push ahead. However, if one were to consume legacy media coverage, one might be mistaken for thinking that the case was “unassailable.” Mr. Turley wrote back in February, as oral arguments were heard with frosty temperaments:

“The Trump case exposed the erosion of legal coverage in the media. For millions of Americans, the cold reception of all of the justices to the novel theory under the 14th Amendment came as a surprise. Networks and newspapers have been featuring experts who assured the public that this theory was well-based and disqualification well-established. The only barrier, they insisted, was the blind partisanship of the six conservative justices on the Court.”

Turley further outlined that the frenzy to believe this novel legal application was not confined to just cable news talking heads, writing, “What was most troubling is the repeated attacks on the Court by legal experts who suggested that the only thing keeping Trump on the ballot was the bias of conservative justices. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) declared, ‘This is their opportunity to behave like real Supreme Court justices.’ It appears that both Justices [Elena] Kagan and [Ketanji Brown] Jackson did not behave like ‘real Supreme Court justices’ in oral argument by objecting to core aspects of this theory.”

A New Trump Narrative?

This is far from the end of the former president’s legal struggles, but it does remove what would have been a critical obstacle to his presidential campaign. Not only does it allow Trump to continue running his presidential campaign, it also affirms the rights of voters to cast their ballots for whom they please.

Donald Trump has been called an insurrectionist by almost every Big Box media station in the nation, and by a significant number of Democrat lawmakers – not to mention a fair few Republicans. He was acquitted by the Senate – the only body with the authority to charge him as an insurrectionist, and now it is the unanimous opinion of the US Supreme Court – and not just conservative jurists – that Colorado cannot remove him from the state ballot.

Just how the Fourth Estate pundits will square the circle of calling him an insurrectionist without calling him an insurrectionist will no-doubt test their cognitive abilities and also the strength of their years-long affliction with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Read More From Mark Angelides

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