It’s Good That Trump’s Trials Are Delayed

But as they put themselves to this task, the court continued to quietly snitch out the GOP for their misrule. At one point, the court warns in its unsigned opinion of an “evolving electoral map” that could “dramatically change the behavior of voters, parties, and states across the country, in different ways and at different times,” potentially leading to the nullification of the people’s will. Here, Ford said, the court was “essentially caving to threats”—chief among them the ones raised in amicus briefs from a “coalition of Republican-led states” that darkly hinted at the possibility that “some states might exclude other presidential candidates from the ballot if Trump were disqualified.”

Naturally, it’s hard to see why anyone should fear a Republican secretary of state citing the Fourteenth Amendment in an effort to remove a Democratic candidate who had participated in an insurrection. I daresay that I am 100 percent in favor of such Democrats being barred from higher office. Here, however, the justices seem to be implying that the GOP will have reckless disregard for the law, and kick off candidates who cannot be said to have contributed to the sort of crimes that the Fourteenth Amendment inveighs against.

Indeed, we can foreclose the possibility of Democrats abusing their power in this fashion. For starters, at least one Republican secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft, had already issued such a threat, the cited reason simply being that he was upset that Colorado and Maine had moved to keep Trump off the ballot. Meanwhile, there is no such behavior among Democrats: Nikki Haley, a more fearsome opponent for President Joe Biden, was left on the ballot, untroubled by Democratic secretaries of state that might have wanted to help the Democratic candidate. (Also, it wasn’t Democrats who sent amicus briefs to the court written in the spirit of “Nice democracy you’ve got here, be a shame if anything happened to it.”)