That could only happen if the Supreme Court fails to properly apply the text and legislative history of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and ignores prior precedents. But in the very unlikely event that the court held that the Colorado State Supreme Court had the authority to find a candidate guilty of insurrection and remove him from the ballot, it would open up a legal quagmire that would lead to electoral chaos, political mayhem and the disenfranchisement of millions of voters who would have their right to choose a candidate taken away from them.
Electoral chaos would result from the risk of totally conflicting opinions and outcomes in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with a presidential candidate such as Trump who meets the qualifications to be president in Article II on the ballot in some states but not others. This could lead to political mayhem and partisan manipulation of the election process, particularly since a lone election official—such as the secretary of state of Maine, who was an elector for Joe Biden in 2020—could use that power to disqualify candidates of the opposition party, making the U.S. look like a third-world country.
It would set the stage for unprecedented violations of basic due process, given that it would allow state officials to in essence “convict” a candidate of serious crimes in a truncated civil proceeding, even if that individual has never been indicted, much less convicted, for those crimes via a criminal trial in which he would have to be found guilty under the higher standard of proof and would be afforded many substantive due process rights. That could include, for example, a president running for reelection being disqualified as a candidate because a state election official “convicts” him of committing treason for intentionally refusing to enforce federal immigration law and deliberately opening up the border to allow millions of “illegal aliens,” drug smugglers, human traffickers, criminals and terrorists to flood into the country.
This response originally appeared in Politico