Donald Trump pressed the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to reverse a ruling by Colorado’s highest court striking his name from the state’s Republican primary ballot, warning of the “chaos and bedlam” that could be around the corner should the challenges to his candidacy be allowed to stand.
The former president’s legal team filed a brief laying out his position ahead of oral arguments, which have been scheduled by the justices for Feb. 8.
“The Court should put a swift and decisive end to these ballot-disqualification efforts,” they wrote, “which threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans and which promise to unleash chaos and bedlam if other state courts and state officials follow Colorado’s lead and exclude the likely Republican presidential nominee from their ballots.”
The Colorado Supreme Court was the first in the nation to find that Trump should be barred from primary and general ballots based on a clause in the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment that prohibits those who have engaged in “insurrection” from holding office. A week after its December decision, Maine’s secretary of state followed suit.
His position on the ballot is being disputed in more than two dozen other states, though Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon have all ruled that he is eligible to remain on their ballots.
The Supreme Court’s decision, which is expected ahead of March 5, or Super Tuesday, when many states hold their primaries, is likely to settle the matter nationwide.
The Thursday brief denied outright that Trump had “engaged in insurrection” alongside thousands of his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021. “President Trump never participated in or directed any of the illegal conduct that occurred at the Capitol…” the brief read. “In fact, the opposite is true, as President Trump repeatedly called for peace, patriotism, and law and order.”
The brief also argued that a president is “not an ‘officer of the United States’” as defined by the Constitution, and that, even if he were, “President Trump also never swore an oath before he became president that could trigger the application” of the insurrection clause.
The brief urges the Supreme Court to rule decisively, saying that to remain “agnostic” on Trump’s eligibility “will only delay the ballot-disqualification fight” and allow his enemies “wiggle room” to the clause as “a cudgel” to keep Trump from the ballot or from taking office.
The plaintiffs in the Colorado case are a group of voters—four Republicans and two independents—who will have until Jan. 31 to respond to Trump’s brief.
Hours before the brief was filed, an amicus brief bearing the signatures of nearly 180 congressional Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was filed to the Supreme Court, asking its justices to rule in favor of Trump. The brief did not say whether the Republicans believe Jan. 6 to have been an insurrection or not, but argued that the Colorado decision “tramples” on congressional powers.
Trump has separately appealed the Maine decision in state court, where a judge punted the case back to Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) on Wednesday, ordering her to make a new decision based on what the Supreme Court decides.