EDITORIAL: High court ruled right in Trump ballot case

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Mar. 16—GOP front-runner Donald Trump called it a "big win for America" when the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously restored him to 2024 presidential primary ballots, rejecting state attempts to ban the former president over the Capitol riot.

Opinions differ on whether Trump on the ballot is a big win for America, but our nation's highest court made the most sensible ruling based on precedent and constitutional law.

The justices ruled a day before the Super Tuesday primaries that states cannot invoke a post-Civil War constitutional provision to keep presidential candidates from appearing on ballots. That power resides with Congress, the court wrote in an unsigned opinion.

Trump's lawyers made several arguments for why the 14th Amendment couldn't be used to keep him off the ballot. They contended the Jan. 6, 2021, riot wasn't an insurrection and, even if it was, Trump did not go to the Capitol or join the rioters.

The court held that states may bar candidates from state office, but that states do not have that power with respect to federal offices.

Trump had been kicked off the ballots by courts in Colorado, Maine and Illinois, but all three rulings were on hold awaiting the Supreme Court's decision.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson said they agreed that allowing the Colorado decision to stand could create a "chaotic state-by-state patchwork."

Regardless of candidate preference or political affiliation, it's easy to see that allowing this power to rest with the states would indeed cause chaos in future elections.

Allowing individual states to remove a presidential candidate from the ballot would effectively make it possible for states to heavily skew the results of national elections by removing choices from voters.

In this case, the Supreme Court faithfully did its duty to interpret constitutional law without bias.