The legal debate about whether or not former President Donald Trump should be allowed to appear on the 2024 ballot has made its way before the Supreme Court.
The court distributed John Castro v. Donald Trump to the justices for conference on Wednesday ahead of the upcoming term, which will begin on October 2. Conference is to take place on September 26 and the case is expected to be decided on or before October 9.
Castro, a tax attorney running for the Republican nomination next year, sent his petition to the Supreme Court last month, asking the justices to answer whether political candidates can challenge the eligibility of another candidate of the same party running for the same nomination “based on a political competitive injury in the form a diminution of votes.”
The lawsuit is seeking to argue that Trump should not be allowed to run for the White House based on section three of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies individuals from holding public office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States. While Trump has not been charged with insurrection, Castro is pointing to Trump’s role in the January 6 Capitol riot.
The former president, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges in four criminal indictments this year, blasted attempts to remove his name from his ballot using the constitutional clause on Monday, remarking that most in the legal field have already called those efforts a long shot and warned that they could prove to be tricky water to navigate.
“Almost all legal scholars have voiced opinions that the 14th Amendment has no legal basis or standing relative to the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
“Like Election Interference, it is just another ‘trick’ being used by the Radical Left Communists, Marxists, and Fascists, to again steal an Election that their candidate, the WORST, MOST INCOMPETENT, & MOST CORRUPT President in U.S. history, is incapable of winning in a Free and Fair Election. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s attorney, Jesse Binnall via email for comment.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani previously told Newsweek that it’s unlikely for the justices to side with Castro since Trump has yet to be charged or convicted of insurrection and rebellion.
“A conviction is not required under the plain language of the Constitution, but it’s telling that even those prosecuting Trump don’t believe that there is enough evidence to convict him or insurrection or sedition,” Rahmani said.
Other efforts to challenge Trump’s candidacy using the 14th Amendment have been unsuccessful. The case brought by tax attorney Lawrence Caplan in Florida was dismissed after the judge ruled that the lawsuit lacked standing and noted that the “injuries alleged” were not “particular” to the plaintiffs.
“An individual citizen does not have standing to challenge whether another individual’s qualified to hold public office,” Judge Robin Rosenberg wrote.
Castro, however, argues that his case would have enough standing because he is directly impacted by Trump’s name being on the ballot since he is also running for the Republican nomination.
“Castro and Trump are not only competing for the same political position within the same political party but are also appealing to the same voter base,” the Supreme Court petition reads. “In fact, throughout his campaigning efforts to date, Castro has spoken to thousands of voters who have expressed that they would vote for Castro only if Trump is not a presidential candidate as they maintain political loyalty to Trump.”
“Castro will further suffer irreparable competitive injuries if Trump, who is constitutionally ineligible to hold office, is able to attempt to secure votes in primary elections and raise funds. Trump’s constitutionally unauthorized undertaking will put Castro at both a voter and donor disadvantage,” it said.
Castro, whose social media bios read “2024 Republican Presidential Candidate Suing Trump to Disqualify Him for January 6,” was a supporter of Trump until the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, at which point he became a fierce critic of the former president. Castro had donated to Trump’s campaign after his 2016 victory.