Trump appeals Cook County judge's ruling to remove him from primary ballots in Illinois

Trump appeals Cook County judge's ruling to remove him from primary ballots in Illinois
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CHICAGO (CBS) -- Former President Donald Trump on Thursday appealed a Cook County judge's ruling to remove him from the Illinois primary ballot over his role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Trump's attorneys asked the Illinois Appellate Court to overturn Judge Tracie Porter's ruling that he be kicked off Republican primary ballots in the state.

Porter had ruled the Illinois State Board of Elections was "clearly erroneous" in January when it allowed Trump to stay on the state's ballot.

The judge ruled that when Trump filed a statement of candidacy for the Illinois Republican primary on Jan. 4, he "falsely swore" that he was "legally qualified" to run for president again because the Colorado Supreme Court had already ruled that he "had been found to engage in insurrection" in a similar challenge to Trump's eligibility to run for another term.

Trump's name remains on ballots for now, as Trump's attorneys pursue their appeal.

Porter already had put her order to remove Trump from the ballot on hold until Friday. Following the Trump campaign's appeal of her ruling, she granted a motion from Trump's attorneys to put her order on hold "until the appeal is fully and finally resolved by the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, the Illinois Supreme Court, and/or the U.S. Supreme Court."

Illinois is one of several states considering whether Trump is disqualified from another term as president due to his role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and whether his actions that day are considered an act of insurrection.

The U.S. Supreme Court already is weighing a similar case in Colorado, where that state's highest court has ruled Trump is disqualified from holding the presidency again, because of his conduct on Jan. 6.

The case hinges on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits officials who have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution from holding government office if they engage in insurrection.

That provision was enacted in 1868 to bar former Confederates from holding federal government offices. Still, it had gone mainly unenforced for the past 150 years and had never before been used to disqualify a candidate from running for president until the Colorado Supreme Court ruled against Trump in December.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Colorado case, and most justices seemed skeptical of the idea that Colorado or any other state could disqualify Trump from appearing on primary election ballots.

The nation's highest court is expected to decide on the matter soon. If justices rule in Trump's favor, most of the efforts to keep him off ballots in multiple states - including Illinois, Colorado, and Maine - likely would be tossed out.

The U.S. Supreme Court also recently agreed to rule on whether Trump has broad immunity from criminal prosecution for acts allegedly committed while he was president after a federal grand jury indicted him for trying to overturn the 2020 election.

CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said the pending decisions by the nation's highest court make the Cook County judge's ruling in Trump's case "absolutely meaningless."

"This issue is being decided right now by the United States Supreme Court," Miller said. "They have the two big cases right now – on the Colorado case throwing him off the bailout because of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the question of whether or not he has Presidential immunity."

No matter how the court battle ends regarding Trump's name appearing on the ballot in Illinois, Trump delegates on the Mar. 19 ballot have been certified and will be allowed to vote for Trump at the Republican National Convention if they choose. 

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