Illinois judge rules Trump ineligible for Republican primary ballot over Jan. 6 riot

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An Illinois judge ruled Wednesday that former President Donald Trump should be taken off the ballot for the state’s primary election, citing the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Tracie R. Porter put her order on pause in anticipation of an appeal. The primary is March 19.

Porter’s ruling said that "based on engaging in insurrection on January 6, 2021, ... his name should be removed from the ballot."

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung bashed the ruling in a statement, arguing it was "unconstitutional" and saying it would be appealed. He also lashed out at Porter, calling her an "activist Democrat judge." The Trump campaign also began trying to raise money off of the decision shortly after it was filed.

A group of five petitioners asked the state to remove Trump from the primary ballot on Jan. 4, the day he submitted filings to appear on the ballot, Porter wrote in her ruling. The petitioners also asked the Cook County Circuit Court for judicial review of the matter.

red tie politics political politician (Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images file)
red tie politics political politician (Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images file)

Illinois is the third state where Trump has been deemed ineligible for the primary ballot. Similar rulings have been issued in Colorado and Maine; both are also on pause.

In each instance, the disqualification clause of the Constitution's 14th Amendment was cited. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is a Civil War-era provision that holds that someone who has taken an oath to the Constitution as a member of Congress, as an “officer of the United States,” as a member of any state legislature or as a state executive or judicial officer and has “engaged in insurrection” cannot hold public office. But it does not specify whether the provision applies to presidents.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the Colorado case, but it has not issued a ruling. Colorado’s primary takes place Tuesday.

Porter, the Illinois judge, referred Wednesday to the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision multiple times in her ruling, adding that she shares “the Colorado Supreme Court’s sentiments that did not reach its conclusions lightly.”

The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Porter, a Democrat, to the circuit court in 2021 to fill a vacancy. She won election the following year.

Cook County, which includes Chicago, is the state's most populous county.

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