Alito Shifts Focus Of Trump Ballot Hearing To Biden

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Thursday as part of Colorado’s effort to invoke the “insurrection clause” of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment to keep GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s name off the ballot.

Although the decision could have a chilling effect on ballot access for candidates in future elections across the United States if Trump is deemed ineligible, most justices — including from the liberal minority — seemed poised to rule against Colorado.

Remarks from the justices typically hinged on the arguments being presented by lawyers representing a handful of Colorado voters who believe Trump should be kept off the ballot, but one exchange between Justice Samuel Alito and attorney Jason Murray seemed to delve into a discussion of the current president.

Without mentioning President Joe Biden’s name directly, Alito mentioned the Constitution’s prohibition of providing “aid or comfort to the enemies” in a hypothetical scenario that mirrored Biden’s decision to release billions of dollars in frozen assets to Iran.

“Suppose there is a country that proclaims again and again and again that the United States is its biggest enemy,” the conservative jurist began. “And suppose that the president of the United States, for diplomatic reasons, thinks that it is in the best interest of the United States to provide funds or release funds that they can be used by that country. Could a state determine that that person has given aid and comfort to the enemy and therefore keep that person off of the ballot?”

Murray attempted to identify a meaningful difference between Alito’s hypothetical scenario and the Trump behavior he believes should be disqualifying, citing the argument of “commentators” that “aid and comfort really only applies in the context of a declared war or at least an adversarial relationship where there is in fact a war.”

Of course, this was far from the only argument that appeared to reflect poorly on Colorado’s position.

Chief Justice John Roberts highlighted the far-reaching consequences that would result from Trump being kept off the ballot.

He predicted that “there will be disqualification proceedings on the other side, and some of those will succeed,” resulting in a scenario through which “just a handful of states” would be able to shape the outcome of any presidential race.

“That’s a pretty daunting consequence,” he concluded.