Feb 29, 2024 - News

Cook County judge boots Trump from Illinois primary ballot

Photo of a man at a podium

Former President Trump speaks during an election night watch party at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds Feb. 24, 2024. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Cook County judge removed former President Trump's name from the state's Republican primary ballot on Wednesday over his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The big picture: Cook County Circuit Judge Tracie R. Porter's decision, which she immediately put on hold in anticipation of an appeal, comes as the Supreme Court weighs a similar argument in Colorado to keep the GOP presidential frontrunner off the ballot.

  • The Colorado case taken up by the nation's highest court could have broad implications for Trump's presidential candidacy nationwide.

Driving the news: Porter's ruling cited the 14th amendment insurrection clause, and similar arguments used by the Colorado Supreme Court to remove Trump from that state's ballot.

  • Trump's campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in an emailed statement that they will "quickly appeal."

The fine print: Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states that no one should hold office in the U.S. if they "have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the [U.S.], or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Flashback: The decision comes after the Illinois State Board of Elections ruled late last month that any decision regarding Trump's candidacy should come from the courts, not from election officials.

  • The judge wrote that the court "realizes the magnitude of this decision and its impact on the upcoming primary Illinois elections."

Between the lines: Porter immediately suspended the ruling until Friday, so votes for Trump will continue to be counted in Illinois this week as early voters cast ballots ahead of the March 19 primary.

Zoom in: Illinois Republicans reacted swiftly to the ruling. The party's chairman Don Tracy said in a statement that he believes the people should choose who represents them, not the courts, saying the decision is "an affront to democracy and limits the voting rights of Illinois citizens."

  • Former gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey said on X (formerly Twitter): "Our fight to keep President Trump on the ballot is just beginning to ensure YOUR voices are heard. This goes beyond mere right or wrong; it's about the future of our country."
  • "This decision is not worth the paper it is printed on," State Rep. Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) said in a statement. "It is an abuse of power and everyone – even people who don't like President Trump – should be appalled."

The other side: Legal director Ron Fein of Free Speech for People, the organization behind the push to remove Trump from the Illinois ballot, called the ruling a "historic victory" in a statement.

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