Illinois judge rules Trump ineligible for Republican primary ballot over Jan. 6 riot

An Illinois judge ruled Wednesday that former President Donald Trump should be taken off of the state’s ballot for the primary election, citing the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The decision came from the Circuit Court of Cook County, and the judge put the order on pause in anticipation of an appeal. The Illinois primary is March 19.

The ruling from Judge Tracie R. Porter said that “based on engaging in insurrection on January 6, 2021…his name should be removed from the ballot.”

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung bashed the ruling in a statement, arguing it was “unconstitutional” and saying it would be appealed. He also lashed out at the judge, calling her an “activist Democrat judge.” The Trump campaign also began trying to fundraise off of the decision shortly after it was filed.

A group of five petitioners asked the state on Jan. 4 to remove Trump from the ballot, the same day the former president submitted filings to appear on the primary ballot, Porter wrote in her ruling. The petitioners also asked the Circuit Court of Cook County for judicial review of the matter.

Former President Donald Trump arrives during a Save America Rally at the Adams County Fairgrounds, in Mendon, Ill., on June 25, 2022.Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images file

Illinois is the third state where Trump has been deemed ineligible for the primary ballot. Similar rulings were previously issued in Colorado and Maine; both are also on pause.

In each instance, the disqualification clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment was cited. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is a Civil War-era provision that holds that someone who has taken an oath to the Constitution and has “engaged in insurrection” cannot hold public office. But it does not specify whether the provision applies to presidents.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments regarding the Colorado case, but it has not issued a ruling. Colorado’s primary takes place on Tuesday.

The Illinois judge on Wednesday referenced the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision multiple times throughout her ruling, adding that she shares “the Colorado Supreme Court’s sentiments that did not reach its conclusions lightly.”

Porter, a Democrat, was appointed to the circuit court by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2021 to fill a vacancy. She won election the following year.

Cook County includes Chicago and is the state’s most populous county.

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