Illinois Becomes Third State To Remove Trump From Primary Ballot

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A circuit court judge in Cook County, Illinois ruled that former President Donald Trump should be removed from the state’s primary election ballot for his role in the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The ruling, which was handed down on Wednesday by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Tracie R. Porter, says that the events of Jan. 6 constituted the “viable definition” of an insurrection and that the petitioners ably argued that Trump’s role in the attack violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and, because of that, “his name should be removed from the ballot.”

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, also known as the Insurrection Clause, states that no one who has ever “engaged in insurrection” should be able hold any sort of political position in the U.S. — from Congress to President.

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Illinois is now the third state to remove Trump from their state’s primary ballot due to his role in inciting an insurrection. On Dec. 19, 2023, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump should be removed from the state’s primary ballot for violating Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. A week later, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) issued a ruling to take Trump’s name off the state’s ballot for the same reason. 

But the decision to remove Trump from the ballot in Colorado, Illinois and Maine is currently on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court decides if the former president violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — or if it even applies to him. Trump’s legal team appealed the Colorado ruling to the Supreme Court, which heard oral argument on Feb. 8. 

During oral argument, the justices focused most of their questioning not on Trump’s role in the events of Jan. 6, but whether Section 3 applies to this situation — and who has the power to enforce this provision. Both the conservative and liberal justices expressed skepticism over one state deciding this issue for the whole country, with Justice Elena Kagan asking, “Why should a single state have the ability to make this determination not only for their own citizens but for the rest of the nation?” 

Though Porter’s ruling removes Trump from the ballot in Illinois, she also wrote that the ruling is paused until the Supreme Court justices decide the Colorado case. An opinion in the Colorado case could come down on any day that the Court is scheduled to hand down opinions.

Read the order here. 

Learn more about Trump’s Illinois ballot disqualification case here.

Learn more about Trump and Section 3 of the 14th Amendment here.