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EDITORIAL: Longshot effort to disqualify Trump unanimously rejected

The Hail Mary attempts to keep Donald Trump off the ballot this November weren’t in vain. They managed to unify the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Monday, the justices ruled 9-0 that states don’t have the authority to remove a federal candidate from the ballot under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection” clause. Only Congress can enforce such a provision.

While the court was narrowly split on the scope of the ruling, all nine justices agreed with the core principle that the state of Colorado went too far in banning Mr. Trump from the state’s presidential slate. The Constitution grants states no such power, the justices held, and a system that allowed states to unilaterally make such decisions would potentially trigger electoral chaos.

“The result could well be that a single candidate would be declared ineligible in some states, but not others, based on the same conduct (and perhaps even the same factual record),” the opinion declared. “The ‘patchwork’ that would likely result from state enforcement would ‘sever the direct link that the Framers found so critical between the national government and the people of the United States’ as a whole.”

While 9-0 decisions are not rare at the high court — from 2008-2019, at least 35 percent of all cases each year were decided without dissent, according to PolitiFact — the unanimity of the Trump ruling is significant and reflects how far leftist activists overreached in attempting to keep the former president out of the White House. The agreement on the nation’s highest court also makes it more difficult for progressive critics — who seem to believe the judicial branch exists to rubber-stamp their constitutionally dubious whims — to attack the legal reasoning behind the decision.

It’s worth remembering, as a Colorado Supreme Court justice noted while dissenting in the state ruling that upheld Mr. Trump’s removal, that the Colorado secretary of state acted without any “procedural due process” at all. The case “lacked basic discovery, the ability to subpoena documents and compel witnesses, workable time frames to adequately investigate and develop defenses, and the opportunity for a fair trial — to adjudicate a federal constitutional claim.”

Those who reject the Supreme Court’s reasoning should quit mewling and reflect upon how they’d react if a Republican election official in a red state waved a hand to decree that the Democratic presidential candidate was ineligible for the ballot.

If Democrats believe Mr. Trump is a threat to the republic, they’ll now have to beat him the democratic way: by taking their case to the American people and picking up enough states to carry the Electoral College in November.

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