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Judge orders Trump removed from Illinois primary ballot

An Illinois judge ruled Wednesday that former President Donald Trump’s name should be struck from the March 19 Illinois Republican primary ballot because he engaged in insurrection in the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol and is disqualified from holding the office of president.

Cook County Judge Tracie Porter made her ruling based on the case law surrounding the Colorado Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision in December that removed Trump from that state’s ballot based on the “insurrection clause” of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the Colorado decision.

While Porter ruled primary votes cast for Trump should not be counted by Illinois election officials, she stayed the effect of her ruling until March 1 in anticipation of an appeal in higher state courts and a ruling from the nation’s highest court in the Colorado case.

Porter ruled that in signing his statement of candidacy for the Illinois Republican primary ballot on Jan. 4, Trump “falsely swore” that he was “‘legally qualified’ for the office he sought because the Colorado Supreme Court had already ruled that the former president “had been found to engage in insurrection.”

Porter’s ruling came in an appeal of the Illinois State Board of Elections’ Jan. 30 decision to reject an effort to disqualify Trump from the primary ballot due to his role in the U.S. Capitol riot, which was aimed at preventing the count of Electoral College votes from the states that made Democrat Joe Biden president.

Under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, those who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution “as an officer of the United States,” shall not be able to serve in Congress or “hold any office, civil or military” if they have engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution.

In its 8-0 bipartisan vote, the elections board allowed Trump’s name to stay on the ballot and rejected an objection that he “knowingly” lied by signing a statement of candidacy attesting he was qualified to hold the office of the presidency.

Porter, in her ruling, found the State Board of Election’s decision that Trump was eligible for the ballot because he did not “knowingly” file a false statement of candidacy was “without basis and contrary to existing Illinois law.”

Regardless of how Porter had ruled in the case, it was expected that an appeal would be filed, with proponents of Trump’s removal from the ballot seeking to get the issue to the Illinois Supreme Court, where Democrats hold a 5-2 advantage. The Colorado case was decided on a party-line vote led by Democrats.

The Trump campaign swiftly vowed to appeal Porter’s ruling.

“Today, an activist Democrat judge in Illinois summarily overruled the state’s Board of Elections and contradicted earlier decisions from dozens of other state and federal jurisdictions,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement. “This is an unconstitutional ruling that we will quickly appeal. In the meantime, President Trump remains on the Illinois ballot, is dominating the polls and will Make America Great Again!”

The case to remove Trump was brought on behalf of a group of Illinois voters backed by the organization Free Speech for People, which has pushed similar legal challenges to the former president’s access to the ballot in other states on 14th Amendment grounds.

“This is a historic victory,” Ron Fein, the legal director of Free Speech For People, said in a statement. “Every court or official that has addressed the merits of Trump’s constitutional eligibility has found that he engaged in insurrection after taking the oath of office and is therefore disqualified from the presidency.”

Porter said she found the Colorado Supreme Court majority’s opinion was “well-articulated, rational and established in historic context.”

“This court shares the Colorado Supreme Court’s sentiments that (it) did not reach its conclusions lightly. This court also realizes the magnitude of this decision and its impact on the upcoming primary Illinois elections,” Porter wrote.

In her ruling, the judge said she also took into account the findings of a State Board of Elections hearing examiner, Clark Erickson, a retired Republican judge from Kankakee County, that Trump had “engaged in insurrection” based on the findings of “a legally authorized investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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