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Republicans cheer Supreme Court decision; Democrats express wariness

Republicans celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Donald Trump to remain on the election ballot in Colorado and reverse a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that disqualified him because of his role in the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The decision came on the eve of Super Tuesday, when 15 states, including Colorado, will hold Republican nominating contests. Almost immediately after the ruling was made public, Trump posted a brief, all-caps message on his social media site.

“BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!” he wrote.

Moments later, he referred to the next question before the justices that could affect his electability — he has challenged a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that said he is not protected from criminal prosecution by presidential immunity. The Supreme Court’s decision to take that case delayed Trump’s federal election interference trial in D.C. until at least late summer, just a few months before the election. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case next month.

In a radio interview shortly after Monday’s ruling, Trump said it “will be of equal importance” how the court rules on his sweeping claim of immunity from prosecution over actions taken while president.

“A president has to have immunity, or they won’t be able to function,” Trump told Boston radio host Howie Carr. “They’ll be ceremonial. So I think that’s a very important one coming up.”

President Biden, the White House and his campaign have largely avoided commenting on the Colorado case. On Monday, Quentin Fulks, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, told MSNBC’s Jen Psaki that the Biden team is not particularly interested in the court’s decision.

“We don’t really care. It’s not been the way we’ve been planning to beat Donald Trump,” Fulks said. “Our focus since Day 1 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 reelection is to build an infrastructure and apparatus to do so.”

On Monday, it wasn’t only Trump celebrating the decision. Some people seen as potential Trump running mates jumped online to declare the ruling a win for their party’s presumptive nominee.

“The U.S. Supreme Court REJECTS Colorado’s clearly political abuse of our democracy,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) wrote on X.

“A unanimous, huge win for President Trump and our country against the anti-democratic radical left.,” Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote on X.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), chair of the House Republican conference, called the decision “a victory for the American people.” She accused those behind the efforts to kick Trump off Colorado’s ballot — led by a former GOP legislator — of participating in a “dangerous attempt by the radical Left to suppress votes.”

“We the people decide elections, not unelected radical leftists,” Stefanik said in a statement. She voted against the counting of electoral college votes for Joe Biden and has promoted debunked conspiracy theories on the 2020 presidential election.

And South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) wrote on X that the Supreme Court “acted swiftly and UNANIMOUSLY to restore law and order and protect the right of the American people to choose their President.”

House Republicans also responded to the decision with both glee and attacks on Trump critics.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who joined an amicus brief that argued that the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision “tramples the prerogatives of members of Congress,” said the justices “affirmed what we all knew: The Colorado Supreme Court engaged in a purely partisan attack against the front-runner for the Republican presidential primary.”

He added, “States engaging in the same activist, undemocratic behaviors should take notice and leave it to the American people to decide who will be president.”

Even Republicans critical of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election praised the decision. Speaking at a rally in Texas, former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley — the last major Republican challenger to Trump in the 2024 nomination race — said the ruling was “important.”

“We don’t ever want some elected official in a state — or anybody else — saying who can and can’t be on a ballot,” Haley said, even after the crowd booed her mention of the ruling. “This is America. … I’ll defeat Donald Trump fair and square, but I want him on that ballot.”

Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.), one of the few Republican lawmakers who has criticized Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, said it is up to Colorado voters to “decide who they want to lead our nation.”

Buck’s sentiment was echoed by many Republicans on Monday. Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the ruling “confirms what Republicans have been arguing: The American people get to pick their candidates, not activists or bureaucrats.”

The Dhillon Law Group, the main firm that defended Trump in the Colorado case, said this “victory is not just for President Trump but for the integrity of our electoral system and the rights of voters across the country.”

Democrats, meanwhile, have been largely silent on the ruling. Among those who spoke out on the decision was Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), who posted the text of the 14th Amendment on social media.

“It’s clear [Donald Trump] tried to violently overturn an election,” Pascrell wrote. “The text of our Constitution may be inconvenient and unpleasant to execute, but the text is clear despite any loophole the republican supreme court carves out.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) simply shared the following comment on X: “The fate of our nation is on the ballot in November. Vote.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who served as a manager in the first impeachment inquiry against Trump, questioned whether the court will move as quickly to address the second Trump-related case on its docket.

“The Supreme Court moved rapidly to clear Donald Trump to appear on the ballot. Will it move just as quickly to reject his false claims of immunity so he can appear in court? Or will justice delayed again be justice denied?” he posted on X.

Speaking to CNN, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said the Supreme Court “punted” by asking Congress to act and that, while he disagrees with the justices’ interpretation of the 14th Amendment, he noted that he’s working with his Democratic colleagues, including Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) and Eric Swalwell (Calif.), to revive legislation that would help determine that “someone who committed insurrection is disqualified’ by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

“Obviously, the Supreme Court did not want to step up to the plate and deal with the clear textualist meaning of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment,” Raskin said. “Much less did they want to deal with the original purposes of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which was to keep out of federal office people who have already proven themselves disloyal and untrustworthy.”

Azi Paybarah, Patrick Svitek and Amy B Wang contributed to this report

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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