The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down a case that challenged former President Donald Trump’s eligibility to run for the White House in 2024.
The case was brought by John Anthony Castro, a tax consultant and long-shot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, who argued that Trump should be disqualified from running under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment due to his alleged role in the January 6, 2021, riot on the U.S. Capitol. Castro cited a provision in the Civil War-era amendment that states American officials can’t hold office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or had “given aid” to insurrectionists.
In August, the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Trump on four counts in its investigation of the January 6 riot. The counts were conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. However, he was not indicted on charges related to insurrection. During his arraignment, the former president plead not guilty to the counts he was charged with.
Castro had requested the high court hear his appeal after a lower court in June found his case lacked legal standing, but the Supreme Court justices announced the case was denied without any comment or recorded vote.
Newsweek reached out to Castro via his campaign website for comment.
In his lawsuit, Castro said Trump provided “aid or comfort” to insurrectionists by expressing sympathy for those who participated in the January 6 riot as well as for saying he would consider issuing presidential pardons for people convicted of crimes related to the insurrection if he is reelected.
“A primary candidate has judicial standing to bring a claim challenging the eligibility of a fellow primary candidate for competitive injury in the form of a diminution of votes and/or fundraising if the primary candidate believes that the fellow primary candidate is ineligible to hold public office and to prevent actions irreconcilable with the U.S. Constitution,” Castro wrote in his petition to the Court.
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Newsweek also reached out to a representative for Trump via email for comment.
Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow and director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute, indicated that he anticipated the Supreme Court would reject Castro’s case.
“Castro is an unserious gadfly, so there’s no surprise the Court didn’t take his case,” Shapiro told Newsweek in an email on Monday. “The Court will only take one of these cases if a circuit court affirms or otherwise lets stand a district court ruling throwing Trump off a ballot somewhere.”
Castro’s lawsuit is not the only attempt to use the 14th Amendment as an argument against Trump’s eligibility. On Friday, the liberal group Free Speech For People (FSFP) filed a petition in Michigan that cites the amendment in an attempt disqualify Trump. The group used the same argument in a suit filed weeks earlier in Minnesota.
In early September, the nonpartisan group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) also filed a legal challenge that said the insurrection provision in the 14th Amendment should block Trump from appearing on the presidential ballot in Colorado if he wins the GOP nomination for 2024.
“If the very fabric of our democracy is to hold, we must ensure that the Constitution is enforced and the same people who attacked our democratic system not be put in charge of it,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement announcing the Colorado challenge. “We aren’t bringing this case to make a point, we’re bringing it because it is necessary to defend our republic both today and in the future.”
Trump recently lashed out against people who have argued that the 14th Amendment disqualifies him from regaining the presidency.
“Almost all legal scholars have voiced opinions that the 14th Amendment has no legal basis or standing relative to the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election,” he wrote in a September 4 post on Truth Social, his social media platform. “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.”