Supreme Court Formally Asked To Uphold Rulings That Trump Engaged In Insurrection

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In a new filing with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking the court’s support for earlier judicial conclusions in Colorado that would block Donald Trump from the ballot on the basis of engaging in insurrection, those behind the case that propelled the earlier rulings link the ex-president to 19th Century traitors.

Their arguments include that Trump clearly incited the violence at the Capitol seen on January 6, 2021, activating provisions of the 14th Amendment that restrict individuals from future office if they previously took an oath of office and then engaged in insurrection.

The new filing outlines a series of Trump’s allegedly knowing actions that set up what became the attack. A lot of the timeline is widely known, including Trump’s angry commentary on Twitter targeted at Mike Pence, who was then the vice president, after the Capitol building was already breached and after Trump supporters had been confronting police near the building for significantly longer, including before Trump’s speech that day ended.

The filing also disputes that there’s any meaningful off-ramp for Trump provided by his brief mention of acting peacefully in that speech and his other Twitter posts that were oriented as though there wasn’t even that much happening at the Capitol at all. He told groups at the Capitol to “stay” peaceful when those gathered at the premises were already well beyond such a thing. The filing even disputes the substance of Trump’s eventual, more direct message that his supporters at the Capitol should leave, since by then, “it was obvious the mob had delayed but would not stop the certification.”

“On January 6, Trump lit the fuse. Knowing the risk of violence and that the crowd was angry and armed, Pet. App. 220a-223a, 95a, Trump incited violence both explicitly and implicitly during his speech at the Ellipse,” the filers summarized. And they used conclusions in court and in the federal government’s executive branch from the 19th Century — around the time of the Civil War — to support the contention that incitement counts as engaging in insurrection.

“While “[d]isloyal sentiments, opinions, or sympathies would not disqualify . . . when a person has, by speech or by writing, incited others to engage in rebellion, [h]e must come under the disqualification,”” the filing says, adding emphasis and quoting a post-war Attorney General at the federal level. “These holdings continued a long line of antebellum treason cases, which made clear that one could “levy war” by “inciting and encouraging others” to violence without personally taking up arms,” the new filing additionally summarized. Oral arguments are next month. Read more at this link.