Trump appeals judge’s decision to remove his name from Illinois primary ballot

CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for former President Donald Trump have appealed a Cook County judge’s decision ordering election officials to remove the Republican’s name from Illinois’ March 19 primary ballot.

The appeal, filed minutes before midnight Thursday, came hours after Judge Tracie Porter issued her decision. She placed a hold on it until Friday to allow the expected appeal.

A group of Illinois voters is trying to remove Trump from the primary ballot over his handling of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The group appealed an election board decision unanimously rejecting its effort. The voters, joined by national voter advocacy group Free Speech for People, argued Trump is ineligible to hold office because they say he encouraged and did little to stop the Capitol riot.

The case is one of dozens of lawsuits nationwide filed to remove Trump from the ballot, arguing he is ineligible due to a rarely used clause in the 14th Amendment prohibiting those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month signaled that it is likely to reject the efforts, judging from commentary the justices made during an appeal of a Colorado ruling removing Trump from the ballot there. Like the Illinois decision, the Colorado ruling is on hold until the appeal is finished.

Trump’s attorneys also filed a motion early Thursday to clarify how long the hold should stay in place. They declined comment Thursday.

In her 38-page ruling, Porter wrote that the Illinois voters’ request to exclude Trump from the ballot should have been granted because they met their burden and the Election Board’s decision was “clearly erroneous.”

“This is a historic victory,” Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People and co-lead counsel in the case, said after the ruling.

In an earlier statement, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung called the Illinois decision an “unconstitutional ruling that we will quickly appeal.”

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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