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Nearly 200 congressional Republicans urge SCOTUS to keep Trump on the ballot

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Nearly 200 congressional Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have joined a Supreme Court brief urging the court to side with former President Donald Trump on the question of if he is eligible to be on Colorado’s ballot in the 2024 election.

The Supreme Court agreed to review a December ruling by a Colorado court that barred former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s Republican primary ballot because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks on the U.S. Capitol. The Colorado court cited the 14th Amendment’s prohibition on someone holding “any office … under the United States” if he has “engaged in insurrection.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise led the brief, which included McConnell and 46 Senate Republicans. They argue that the Colorado court decision infringes on congressional powers.

The brief from congressional Republicans does not weigh in on whether the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 was an insurrection or not, even though that determination was at the heart of the Colorado court’s decision. Lawmakers spent much of the 37-page filing questioning whether Trump bore responsibility for the violence that day.

“It is hard to imagine an actual insurrectionist quickly asking for peace and encouraging disbandment,” the group writes, focusing on one of many actions Trump took that day to direct the crowd.

McConnell’s signature is particularly notable because he has repeatedly stood by comments he made in the weeks after the Jan. 6 attack, squarely blaming Trump for stoking the violence.

The last time Capitol Hill Republicans backed Trump in large numbers at the Supreme Court was December 2020, when Trump was trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Their signatures on the earlier brief presaged the Jan. 6 vote itself, during which more than half of House Republicans backed the effort.

The Supreme Court’s eventual ruling will impact other states weighing blocking Trump from the ballot, including Maine, where a judge on Wednesday put on hold a decision to exclude Trump to wait for the high court’s decision.

Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.