Trump can stay on Illinois 2024 ballot after 14th Amendment challenge – Officials 

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By Rob Samuelson

The Illinois State Board of Elections has made a decisive move, ruling that former President Donald Trump can stay on the state’s presidential primary ballot. 

This decision came on Tuesday, dismissing a lawsuit challenging Trump’s eligibility under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, commonly known as the insurrection clause.

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Illinois board rejects lawsuit challenging Trump’s candidacy over January 6 case

A group of Illinois voters, represented by the national group Free Speech for People and Illinois election lawyers, had brought forward the lawsuit. 

Donald Trump Campaigns in St. Louis — Stock Photo, Image
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The bipartisan eight-person board unanimously voted against this lawsuit. 

The board clarified that it lacked the authority to rule on the challenge, which pointed to Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his alleged role in inciting the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump denies wrongdoing, questions 14th Amendment interpretation

Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing, condemning the 14th Amendment cases as anti-democratic. 

Trump’s attorney, Adam Merrill, stated, “Trump did not engage in insurrection, as that term is used in the Constitution.”

“It is a complicated legal term that has been rarely interpreted, and it wasn’t even articulated correctly by the hearing officer in this case and, frankly, never should have reached it because of the lack of evidence and because of the lack of jurisdiction.”

Illinois board affirms Trump’s candidacy; Free Speech for the People to appeal

The board deliberated on Trump’s eligibility for about an hour before affirming his candidacy. 

Following the decision, Free Speech for the People announced their intention to appeal, expecting the courts to understand “why Illinois law authorizes that ruling despite Trump’s subjective belief that the Constitution doesn’t apply to him.”

Trump, on social media, expressed his satisfaction with the board’s ruling, stating it was a protection against “the Radical Left Lunatics who are trying to destroy it.” 

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Supreme Court to hear 14th Amendment case against Trump 

This ruling precedes a significant upcoming event: on February 8, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in a similar 14th Amendment challenge to Trump from Colorado.

Over the past year, various courts, election boards, and secretaries of state have considered numerous 14th Amendment challenges to Trump’s eligibility. 

To date, only Colorado’s Supreme Court and Maine’s secretary of state have declared Trump ineligible for their primary processes. 

Maine awaits Supreme Court; Illinois board follows hearing officer’s guidance 

The Maine case is pending reconsideration by Secretary Shenna Bellows, contingent on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Colorado case.

The Illinois board’s decision was in line with the recommendation of hearing officer Clark Erickson. 

Erickson, overseeing a two-hour administrative hearing, suggested that while Trump may have engaged in insurrection as per Section 3, his name should not be removed from Illinois’ 2024 primary ballot.

Board member, hearing officer’s opinions on Trump’s eligibility and constitution

Board member Catherine S. McCrory, a Republican, openly stated her belief in Trump’s involvement in the January 6 insurrection. 

Erickson, a retired Republican state judge, had recommended rejecting the case against Trump, arguing that the Election Code was not the right avenue for such constitutional issues and that such matters belonged in the courts. 

He highlighted the challenges of addressing complex constitutional issues within the tight schedule of an election board hearing.

Illinois board’s decision highlights complexities in Trump’s candidacy 

The Illinois State Board of Elections’ decision to keep Trump on the ballot underscores the ongoing legal and political complexities surrounding his candidacy. 

Trump can stay on Illinois 2024 ballot after 14th Amendment challenge,  officials say - ABC News
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The upcoming Supreme Court case will likely shed further light on these constitutional debates.

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