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Supreme Court poised to rule on Trump’s eligibility to hold office on Monday

Former U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts as Associate Justice Elena Kagan looks on before the State of the Union address in the House chamber on Feb. 4, 2020, in Washington, D.C.  (Pool)
By Adam Liptak New York Times

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court announced Sunday that it would issue at least one decision Monday, a strong signal that it would rule then on former President Donald Trump’s eligibility for Colorado’s primary ballot.

The announcement said Monday’s opinion or opinions would be posted online starting at 10 a.m. Eastern. “The court will not take the bench,” it said.

The court’s usual practice, though one suspended during the pandemic, is to announce decisions in argued cases from the bench. The justices had not been scheduled to return to the courtroom until March 15.

The timing of the court’s actions may have been influenced by the electoral calendar. In urging the justices to intervene in the case, the Colorado Republican Party had asked them to act before the Super Tuesday primaries this week, which include Colorado.

The ruling is likely to resolve not only whether Trump may appear on the Colorado primary ballot but also whether he is eligible to run in the general election. Indeed, the decision will almost certainly apply to any other state where Trump’s eligibility to run has been challenged.

Not since Bush v. Gore, the 2000 decision that handed the presidency to George W. Bush, has the Supreme Court assumed such a direct role in a presidential contest.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in December that Trump is ineligible to seek or hold office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which was adopted after the Civil War and prohibits people who swore to support the Constitution and then engaged in insurrection from holding office.

After Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 3 to hear his appeal, the justices have moved with considerable speed to resolve the issue. They granted review just two days after the filing and scheduled arguments for about a month later.

Based on questioning at the oral argument, Trump is likely to prevail.

The court is also considering a second case concerning Trump, on whether he is immune from prosecution on charges that he plotted to overturn the results of the 2020 election. It has moved more slowly than the Colorado case.

The justices took 16 days after Trump’s emergency application regarding immunity to schedule arguments for seven weeks later, in the week of April 22. The court kept the trial, which had once been scheduled for March 4, on hold in the meantime.

If the court issues its decision in the Colorado case Monday, it will have acted within a month of hearing arguments.

If it follows that pace on the immunity case, a decision could land in late May. And if Trump loses, pretrial proceedings would resume and the trial itself might start, barring other hurdles, in late September.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.