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Supreme Court rules in favor of Trump ahead of Super Tuesday, reversing Colorado ballot decision: Highlights

The decision was unanimous.

The latest news on Supreme Court decisions:

  • The Supreme Court has ruled in former President Donald Trump’s favor, saying Colorado erred when he was removed from the ballot.
  • Colorado holds primary votes tomorrow, but Trump's name remained on the ballot while the case was being litigated.

Supreme Court more divided than it appears

Lawrence HurleySupreme Court reporter

Today's Supreme Court ruling was described by the court as being unanimous on the underlying question of whether states could kick Trump off the ballot, but online sleuthing suggests the nine justices were more divided than they wanted to let on.

The published ruling says that the separate opinions written by the three liberal justices and conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett were "concurrences" in the court's parlance, meaning they generally agreed with the majority.

But as Mark Joseph Stern of Slate discovered, it seems that the concurring opinion was originally styled as a partial dissent:

This reporter followed Stern's instructions and had the same outcome.

It suggests that at the last minute, the liberal justices — perhaps in the interests of showing a more unified front — decided against describing the opinion as a partial dissent.

The substance of the opinion certainly indicates substantive disagreements among the justices.

Biden campaign manager responds to decision

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Today at MSNBC’s inaugural live event series, MSNBC Live, Biden 2024 Principal Deputy Campaign Manager Quentin Fulks told MSNBC host Jen Psaki that the decision mattered little to the campaign.

"We don’t really care," Fulks said. "It’s not been the way we’ve been planning to beat Donald Trump. Our focus since day one of launching this campaign has been to defeat Donald Trump at the ballot box. And everything we’ve done since the president announced back in April that he’s running for re-election is to build an infrastructure and apparatus to do so."

Maine secretary of state withdraws ruling that Trump is ineligible for 2024 primary ballot

Yasmeen Persaud

Summer Concepcion and Yasmeen Persaud

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has withdrawn her previous ruling that Trump is ineligible for the state’s 2024 primary ballot, citing the Supreme Court’s Colorado decision that also applies to ballots in all states.

“I have reviewed the Anderson decision carefully. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that individual states lack authority to enforce Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment with respect to federal offices,” Bellows said in a statement. “Consistent with my oath and obligation to follow the law and the Constitution, and pursuant to the Anderson decision, I hereby withdraw my determination that Mr. Trump’s primary petition is invalid.”

In December, Bellows had ruled that Trump is constitutionally barred from appearing on Maine’s primary ballot over his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Trump in January filed an appeal of the ruling by Maine’s top election official.

Trump applauds ruling: 'You cannot take somebody out of a race'

Trump took a victory lap from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, this afternoon.

"It will go a long way toward bringing our country together," Trump said of the decision. "You cannot take somebody out of a race because the opponent would like to have it that way."

He also used the moment to encourage the Supreme Court to rule in his favor as he argues he should be immune from being prosecuted over charges that he illegally tried to overturn the 2020 election.

"If a president doesn’t have full immunity, you really don’t have a president," he said, asserting that the commander in chief has to be able to make decisions "free and clear" of concern about recrimination. In doing so, he compared his actions in the wake of the 2020 election to the decisions he made regarding the pursuit of terrorists.

Finally, Trump called on Biden to interfere in the criminal indictments against him, portraying the four sets of charges as a coordinated effort by the president to use the legal system to achieve political ends — an allegation for which there is no evidence.

"Stop weaponization," Trump said, addressing Biden directly. "Fight your fight yourself. Don’t use prosecutors and judges to go after your opponent."

A special prosecutor recently declined to bring charges against Biden over his retention of classified materials, and the Justice Department is also in the process of prosecuting Biden's son Hunter Biden.

Trump has rattled off his criticism of criminal cases

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

In remarks that are supposed to be responding to the Supreme Court decision, Trump is mainly criticizing the four pending criminal cases. And he is now talking about immigration policy.

Trump praises Supreme Court after decision

Ginger GibsonSenior Washington Editor

Trump is addressing the decision, saying it was a good decision by the court.

"The voters can take someone out of the race very quickly, but a court shouldn’t be doing that and the Supreme Court said that very well," he said.

Lawyers for plaintiffs express disappointment, but say justices didn't rule on whether Trump engaged in insurrection

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

The lawyers who were involved in representing the plaintiffs in the Colorado case expressed disappointment today with the Supreme Court’s decision, but suggested that the justices still left open the possibility that Trump engaged in an insurrection. 

“I think that what is in many ways most striking about this opinion is that the Supreme Court was given the opportunity to exonerate Donald Trump for engaging in insurrection. Donald Trump asked them to exonerate him for engaging in insurrection and they did not do that,” Noah Bookbinder, president of CREW, said during a virtual press conference. “There is not a single sentence from a single justice in that opinion that came out today, taking substantive issue with the findings of the Colorado Supreme Court that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection.”

Jason Murray, who represented the Colorado voters who brought the lawsuit, said that his interpretation of today’s ruling is that the justices left intact the finding by the Colorado Supreme Court that Trump engaged in insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

“The Colorado Supreme Court here took a close look at the evidence that we presented at trial and agreed with that decision of the trial court that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection,” he said. And it’s pretty striking that the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision today left those factual findings by the Colorado courts intact.”

Trump remarks now scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

Trump's remarks are now scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

Trump lawyer praises court decision

Trump attorney Alina Habba praised the court's decision.

"I’ve said it before — lawfare will not stand, due process will not be denied and We The People will make our choice at the ballot box," she wrote on X.

Supreme Court ruling does not extend to state officials

The high court's ruling on the 14th Amendment does not apply to state-level officials, which is potentially bad news for the "Cowboys for Trump" co-founder who was removed from his post as a county commissioner in New Mexico.

A judge in the state ordered Couy Griffin removed in 2022 and banned him from seeking further public office under the terms of the 14th Amendment after he was convicted in federal court of a misdemeanor for entering the Capitol grounds Jan. 6.

Griffin has appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and told NBC News last month that he was hopeful a ruling in Trump's favor could help his case. The ruling, however, makes it clear it does not apply to lower-level officials.

“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,” the ruling said.

Liberal justices call Trump an 'oathbreaking insurrectionist'

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

In the concurring opinion, the liberal Supreme Court justices, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson, called Trump an "oathbreaking insurrectionist."

They wrote that their ruling helped decide not only the case in Colorado, but also similar challenges in the future.

"In this case, the Court must decide whether Colorado may keep a Presidential candidate off the ballot on the ground that he is an oathbreaking insurrectionist and thus disqualified from holding federal office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment," they wrote. "Allowing Colorado to do so would, we agree, create a chaotic state-by-state patchwork, at odds with our Nation’s federalism principles. That is enough to resolve this case."

Trump set to speak at noon from Mar-a-Lago

Trump will address cameras at noon from his Mar-a-Lago resort, a campaign adviser said.

RFK Jr. praises high court's Colorado ruling

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who's running as a third-party presidential candidate, said this morning that the Supreme Court's decision was the right one.

"This is the correct outcome. I want to win a fair election — not one in which my competitors are removed through legal maneuvers," he posted on X.

Read the decision

Trump praises Colorado ballot ruling in Truth Social post: 'BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!'

In a post on his Truth Social platform shortly after the Supreme Court's Colorado ballot ruling came down, Trump wrote, "BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!"

The three liberal justices concurred but had issues with opinion

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson concurred with the opinion, but had some qualms with how the majority wrote the decision.

Colorado ballot ruling was unanimous

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Daniel Barnes and Summer Concepcion

The Supreme Court delivered a unanimous opinion on the Colorado ballot ruling.

Colorado ballot ruling applies to all states

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court's decision applies to ballots in all states. Several states had similar lawsuits challenging Trump's eligibility to appear on their election ballots.

Court rules unanimously in Trump’s favor, says he can’t be removed from ballot

Lawrence HurleySupreme Court reporter

The Supreme Court has ruled in Trump’s favor, saying Colorado erred when he was removed from the ballot.

Supreme Court hands down ruling in Colorado ballot case

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court has issued its decision in the case challenging Trump's eligibility to appear on Colorado's primary ballots.

One box of rulings today

Lawrence HurleySupreme Court reporter

There's just one box of rulings at the court today. We'll know in a few minutes what it contains.

The Supreme Court could make a decision on Trump appearing on the Colorado ballot.

Supreme Court to release decisions today, with Trump Colorado ruling a strong possibility

Lawrence HurleySupreme Court reporter

The Supreme Court has indicated it will issue rulings today, one of which could be the highly anticipated decision on whether Colorado can kick Trump off the primary ballot.

The court noted on its website yesterday afternoon that rulings are expected.

Trump is currently set to appear on the state primary ballot tomorrow after a hold was placed on the Colorado Supreme Court ruling that deemed him ineligible because of his efforts to defy the 2020 election results.

Read the full story here.

From arguments: Supreme Court signals unlikely to let Colorado kick Trump off ballot

Lawrence HurleySupreme Court reporter

The Supreme Court signaled deep skepticism that Colorado had the power to remove former President Donald Trump from the Republican primary ballot because of his actions trying to overturn the 2020 election results.

A majority of the justices appeared to think during the two-hour argument that states do not have a role in deciding whether a presidential candidate can be barred from running under a provision of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment that bars people who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.

Justices from across the ideological spectrum raised concerns about states reaching different conclusions on whether a candidate could run, and several indicated that only Congress could enforce the provision at issue.

Read the full story.