The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Thursday in an appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision barring Donald Trump from the state’s primary ballot.
But the lawsuit, Anderson v. Griswold, is far from the only effort to remove Trump from a state’s ballot. To date, there have been at least 50 such actions before courts or election officials filed across 35 states. All argue that Trump’s actions relating to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol amount to insurrection sufficient to disqualify him from holding the presidency under the 14th Amendment. Section 3 bars from certain public offices anyone who previously swore an oath “as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States” and later “engaged in rebellion or insurrection” or gave “aid or comfort to enemies.”
But the cases differ in many other respects that have nothing to do with whether the U.S. Constitution bars Trump from holding the presidency — and those differences have impacted their outcomes. Importantly, the cases have been brought by different plaintiffs, with almost 30 filed by John Anthony Castro, a little-known Republican presidential candidate who is currently under federal indictment. And, perhaps most crucially, the actions revolve around various intricacies of state law. As a result, the vast majority of these challenges have been resolved without any consideration of Trump’s ballot eligibility. Instead, they’ve turned on questions like whether a plaintiff has standing or whether election officials have authority under state law to remove a candidate from the ballot.