Opinions of the Court - 2023 ( www.supremecourt.gov )

This case raises the question whether the States, in addition to Congress, may also enforce Section 3. 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.

For the reasons given, 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.

Dio ,
@Dio@lemy.lol avatar
horsey ,

I suppose this is a ruling based purely on constitutional merits - saying the federal government is in charge of enforcing that clause, not states. In principle though, it seems like bullshit if we’re still going with the idea that states are independent entities joined in a republic. States should be in charge of elections they hold. Could they say the same thing if a state had their own law that a candidate for federal office could be disqualified from the state ballot?

I also wonder what the court would have to say about this anti-democratic atrocity some states have concocted lately (republicans, of course) where they want the state legislature to be able to discard election results and pick a candidate if they claim an election was corrupted.

WanderingVentra ,

That's the thing. Like, I get it, it would probably cause some chaos. But now it's really muddled what states control and what they don't control. They control voters, by denying felons rights and things like that, but not candidates? But they can also change election results based on those state laws you mentioned?

Maybe I'm just not cut out for law, but the philosophical inconsistency annoys me, even if I don't completely disagree with the decision itself lol. I don't want Trump to be able to run, but there's probably some fear among the liberal justices about red states removing candidates.

horsey ,

That is exactly what Sotomayor, I believe, was saying a few weeks ago - that they didn’t want to create a chaotic situation where Republican-led states started “retaliating” (and of course they would) by removing Biden from the ballot.

A problem with making the decision with considerations like that in mind, though, is they’re basically coming up with the conclusion and then inventing a legal basis to justify it.

girlfreddy OP ,
@girlfreddy@lemmy.ca avatar

It's this little blurb that I question ...

The relevant provision is Section 5, which enables Congress, subject of course to judicial review, to pass “appropriate legislation” to “enforce” the Fourteenth Amendment. See City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U. S. 507, 536 (1997).

It's like SCOTUS is talking out of both sides of their mouth. Only Congress can decide but we have to review and OK it as well.


horsey ,

That is how any law works though, isn't it? The Supreme Court can determine whether it's constitutional?

roguetrick ,

The decided on Congress alone part of that opinion is the stupid part of it. They're pre-emptively barring federal courts from disqualifing as well. It's absolute nonsense and the dissenting opinion is scathing.

girlfreddy OP , (edited )
@girlfreddy@lemmy.ca avatar

From the SCOTUS document ...

Proposed by Congress in 1866 and ratified by the States in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment “expand[ed] federal power at the expense of state autonomy” and thus “fundamentally altered the balance of state and federal power struck by the Constitution.” Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Flor- ida, 517 U. S. 44, 59 (1996); see also Ex parte Virginia, 100
U. S. 339, 345 (1880). Section 1 of the Amendment, for instance, bars the States from “depriv[ing] any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” or “deny[ing] to any person . . . the equal protection of the laws.” And Section 5 confers on Congress “power to enforce” those prohibitions, along with the other provisions of the Amendment, “by appropriate legislation.”

Section 3 of the Amendment likewise restricts state autonomy, but through different means. It was designed to help ensure an enduring Union by preventing former Confederates from returning to power in the aftermath of the Civil War. See, e.g., Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., 2544 (1866) (statement of Rep. Stevens, warning that without appropriate constitutional reforms “yelling secessionists and hissing copperheads” would take seats in the House); id., at 2768 (statement of Sen. Howard, lamenting prospect of a “State Legislature . . . made up entirely of disloyal elements” absent a disqualification provision). Section 3 aimed to prevent such a resurgence by barring from office “those who, having once taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, afterward went into rebellion against the Government of the United States.” Cong. Globe, 41st Cong., 1st Sess., 626 (1869) (statement of Sen. Trumbull).

Section 3 works by imposing on certain individuals a preventive and severe penalty—disqualification from holding a wide array of offices—rather than by granting rights to all. It is therefore necessary, as Chief Justice Chase concluded and the Colorado Supreme Court itself recognized, to “‘ascertain what particular individuals are embraced’” by the provision. App. to Pet. for Cert. 53a (quoting Griffin’s Case, 11 F. Cas. 7, 26 (No. 5,815) (CC Va. 1869) (Chase, Circuit Justice)). Chase went on to explain that “[t]o accomplish this ascertainment and ensure effective results, proceedings, evidence, decisions, and enforcements of decisions, more or less formal, are indispensable.” Id., at 26. For its part, the Colorado Supreme Court also concluded that there must be some kind of “determination” that Section 3 applies to a particular person “before the disqualification holds meaning.” App. to Pet. for Cert. 53a.

The Constitution empowers Congress to prescribe how those determinations should be made. The relevant provision is Section 5, which enables Congress, subject of course to judicial review, to pass “appropriate legislation” to “enforce” the Fourteenth Amendment. See City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U. S. 507, 536 (1997). Or as Senator Howard put it at the time the Amendment was framed, Section 5 “casts upon Congress the responsibility of seeing to it, for the future, that all the sections of the amendment are carried out in good faith.” Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., at 2768.

edited a bunch of times to take out annoying unneccessary hyphens.

roguetrick ,

Yet the Court continues on to resolve questions not before us. In a case involving no federal action whatsoever, the Court opines on how federal enforcement of Section 3 must
proceed. Congress, the majority says, must enact legislation under Section 5 prescribing the procedures to “ ‘ “ascertain[ ] what particular individuals” ’ ” should be disqualified. Ante, at 5 (quoting Griffin’s Case, 11 F. Cas. 7, 26
(No. 5,815) (CC Va. 1869) (Chase, Circuit Justice)). These musings are as inadequately supported as they are gratuitous.

To start, nothing in Section 3’s text supports the majority’s view of how federal disqualification efforts must operate. Section 3 states simply that “[n]o person shall” holdcertain positions and offices if they are oathbreaking insurectionists. Amdt. 14. Nothing in that unequivocal bar suggests that implementing legislation enacted under Section
5 is “critical” (or, for that matter, what that word means in this context). Ante, at 5. In fact, the text cuts the opposite way. Section 3 provides that when an oathbreaking insurrectionist is disqualified, “Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.” It is hard to
understand why the Constitution would require a congressional supermajority to remove a disqualification if a simple majority could nullify Section 3’s operation by repealing or
declining to pass implementing legislation. Even petitioner’s lawyer acknowledged the “tension” in Section 3 that the majority’s view creates. See Tr. of Oral Arg. 31.
Similarly, nothing else in the rest of the Fourteenth
Amendment supports the majority’s view. Section 5 gives Congress the “power to enforce [the Amendment] by appropriate legislation.” Remedial legislation of any kind, however, is not required. All the Reconstruction Amendments
(including the due process and equal protection guaranteesand prohibition of slavery) “are self-executing,” meaning that they do not depend on legislation. City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U. S. 507, 524 (1997); see Civil Rights Cases, 109
U. S. 3, 20 (1883). Similarly, other constitutional rules of disqualification, like the two-term limit on the Presidency, do not require implementing legislation. See, e.g., Art. II, §1, cl. 5 (Presidential Qualifications); Amdt. 22 (Presidential Term Limits). Nor does the majority suggest otherwise.

derf82 ,

Which makes zero sense. Why include a provision that congress can undo it with a 2/3rds vote if congress had to block them with a mere majority to start with?

And if the feds get to decide who is on the ballot, why is history filled with candidates not on the ballot in some states? Their ruling was based on what they thought the law should be, not what it is.

FlyingSquid ,
@FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

Unanimous. Fucking unanimous. Even Jackson.

Dio ,
@Dio@lemy.lol avatar

Yeah. Because he didn't do any thing to be booted that even 'Jackson' Knows that. Some how it's the insane petri dish of foaming at the mouth, odd dregs, who refuse reality.

@NOT_RICK@lemmy.world avatar

He clearly whipped up an angry mob to attack the Capitol, he just hasn’t been convicted of doing so.

girlfreddy OP ,
@girlfreddy@lemmy.ca avatar

SCOTUS denies Colorado's state court to decide whether or not a person seeking to hold a federal office can be blocked. It must be decided by Congress alone.

FlyingSquid ,
@FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

And, of course, they'll keep Trump on the ballot. Even if it's deemed he committed insurrection.

girlfreddy OP ,
@girlfreddy@lemmy.ca avatar

November is looking gloomier by the minute. :(

FlyingSquid ,
@FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

I wonder if this decision will convince Nikki Haley to drop out or if she's determined to stay in it until the RNC?

girlfreddy OP ,
@girlfreddy@lemmy.ca avatar

I honestly thought she was simply sticking around until SCOTUS ruled, so she'd have a chance at being the last one standing ... and, by default, the GOP nominee.

kent_eh , (edited )

By that measure, there are still court cases in progress that could, theoretically, leave her the lone remaining viable candidate.

It's unlikely, but possible.

Then again, she may simply be preparing to be the highest profile candidate for 2028.

girlfreddy OP ,
@girlfreddy@lemmy.ca avatar

You're right. So maybe she will continue then.

SkybreakerEngineer ,

If one more person (looking at you Roberts) had sided with the liberals, he'd be off the ballot nationwide. The only thing that's unanimous is that it's not up to the states.

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