Trump will be on the ballot for the Illinois primaries: the electoral board rejects his exclusion


The Illinois electoral board decided this Tuesday to keep former President Donald Trump on the primary election ballot, one week before the US Supreme Court hears arguments on whether the Republican's role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol disqualifies him from holding the presidency.

The board's decision comes after its hearing officer, a retired Republican judge, found that the "preponderance of evidence" shows Trump is ineligible to run for president because he violated a constitutional prohibition against those who "engage in insurrection" holding office.

However, the hearing officer recommended that the board let the courts make the final decision.

The board, consisting of eight members, agreed with its lawyer's recommendation to allow Trump to remain on the ballot, concluding that the board does not have the authority to determine whether the former president violated the Constitution.

"I want to be clear that this Republican believes there was an insurrection on January 6. I have no doubt that he manipulated, instigated, and assisted in an insurrection," said Catherine McCrory, a board member, before explaining her vote.

However, she added that she did not believe the board had the legal authority to enforce that conclusion.

Trump's lawyer urged the board not to intervene, claiming that the former president never participated in the insurrection, but that was not something the board could determine.

"We would recommend and urge the board not to intervene in this," said lawyer Adam Merrill.

A lawyer for voters who opposed Trump's presence on the ballot said they would appeal to the state court.

"What happened here was a hot potato was sidestepped," lawyer Matthew Piers told the press after the hearing. "I understand the desire to do that, but the law doesn't allow sidestepping issues," he added.

The matter is likely to be decided in a higher court, and the US Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Trump's appeal against a decision in Colorado next week, where he is declared ineligible for the presidency in that state.

The nation's highest court has never decided in a case related to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, adopted in 1864 to prevent former Confederates from returning to power after the Civil War but has been used very few times since then.

Some legal scholars argue that the clause applies to Trump for his involvement in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election and encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol after losing to Democrat Joe Biden.

Cases seeking to exclude the Republican from the presidency under Section 3 have been filed across the United States. The Colorado case is the only one that succeeded in court. Most courts and election officials have avoided the issue with arguments similar to Illinois's, stating they lack jurisdiction to decide on this intricate constitutional matter.

The Democratic Secretary of State of Maine also determined that Trump had violated the 14th Amendment, making him ineligible for the White House, but her decision is on hold pending a Supreme Court ruling.