Illinois voters latest to challenge Trump candidacy under 14th Amendment 

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A new challenge to former President Trump’s ballot eligibility under the 14th Amendment was brought in Illinois on Thursday.

Filed on behalf of five Illinois voters, the objection marks nonprofit Free Speech For People’s fourth challenge seeking to remove Trump from the ballot in various states.

The Supreme Court is actively weighing whether to take up Trump’s appeal of a decision kicking him off the primary ballot in Colorado, a case that would have nationwide impacts on the Illinois challenge and dozens of others.

Anti-Trump groups have sought to disqualify the former president by arguing his actions surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack violated the 14th Amendment’s insurrection ban.

The amendment prohibits someone from holding “any office … under the United States” if they “engaged in insurrection” after taking an oath to support the Constitution. 

Ratified after the Civil War, it was designed to keep Confederates from returning to federal office but fell largely dormant in the decades since.

“By his conduct described herein, beginning before January 6, 2021, and continuing to the present time, Trump gave aid and comfort to enemies of the Constitution by, among other things: encouraging and counseling the insurrectionists; deliberately failing to exercise his authority and responsibility as President to quell the insurrection; praising the insurrectionists, including calling them ‘very special,’ ‘good persons,’ and ‘patriots’; and promising or suggesting that he would pardon many of the insurrectionists if reelected to the presidency,” the petition states.

The petition, filed with the state’s board of elections, requests a hearing and a decision barring Trump’s name from appearing on both the state’s March 19 primary ballot and the general election ballot in November.

“The spurious so-called 14th Amendment cases are spearheaded and funded by left-wing billionaires including George Soros and other groups being coordinated by Crooked Joe Biden,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement. 

“These shams are all part of a coordinated election interference lawfare campaign designed to disenfranchise millions of American voters by depriving them of the right to vote for the candidate of their choice because Crooked Joe’s allies see the writing on the wall, President Trump is winning and Biden is losing,” Cheung continued. “Ultimately, we believe the law is on our side and President Trump will overwhelmingly be re-elected to the presidency and Make America Great Again.”

Of the dozens of challenges filed nationwide, two have been successful in getting Trump’s name knocked off the ballot.

Colorado’s top court and the top elections official in Maine, a Democrat, ruled the 14th Amendment prohibited Trump’s name from appearing on their state’s primary ballots.

The Maine case is now proceeding in state court, but the Colorado case has been on the fastest track and is now in the hands of the Supreme Court, which is weighing whether to take up the case. Legal experts largely expect the court to do so.

Other cases filed by Free Speech For People have been rejected in Minnesota and Michigan. The group’s challenge in Oregon remains ongoing.

Updated 4:35 p.m. Jan. 4.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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