‘No, no!’ Justice Gorsuch makes mincemeat out of Colorado attorney seeking to keep Trump off ballot

It’s not just congressional Republicans pushing back on the “insurrection” narrative against former President Donald Trump — so is Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

During a SCOTUS hearing Thursday, Gorsuch excoriated a Colorado attorney who argued that Trump deserves to be kept off the state’s ballot because he’d participated in an insurrection.

Attorney Jason Murray specifically made the case that Trump had effectively disqualified himself from the ballot the moment the so-called Jan. 6th insurrection occurred.


Both Gorsuch and Justice Samuel Alito pushed back by asking if it’d therefore have been lawful for members of the military to have stopped obeying Trump the moment the so-called insurrection occurred.

Murray in turn claimed that although Trump was (and is allegedly) no longer qualified to serve in office, the military members would have still had to follow his orders until a legal procedure was instituted.

“Well, certainly you need a procedure in order to have any remedy to enforce the disqualification,” he explained.

Gorsuch didn’t buy this argument.

“That’s a whole separate question. That’s the de facto doctrine. It doesn’t work here. Okay, put that aside. He’s disqualified from the moment. Self-executing. Done,” he began, describing Trump being disqualified.

“And I would think that a person who would receive a direction from that person, the president, former president, in your view, would be free to act as he or she wishes without regard to that individual,” he added.

“I don’t think so, because I think, again, the de facto officer doctrine would nevertheless come into play,” Murray replied.

The de facto officer doctrine effectively immunizes an officer who exercises “‘the duties of an office under color of an appointment or election to that office’ but whose lawful and legal title or authority is defective,” according to the Colombia Law Review.

(Source: CLR)

But Gorsuch still wasn’t buying what the anti-Trump attorney was selling.

“No, that doesn’t work, Mr. Murray, because de facto officer is to ratify the conduct that’s done afterwards and insulate from judicial review,” he said. “Put that aside. I’m not going to say it again. Put it aside. Okay.”

He continued, “I think Justice Alito is asking a very different question, a more pointed one and more difficult one for you. I understand, but I think it deserves an answer. On your theory, would anything compel a lower official to obey an order from, in your view, the former president?”

Murray responded this time by trying to pull a fast one.

“I’m imagining a situation where, for example, a former president was, you know, a president was elected and they were 25 and they were ineligible …,” he said before being cut off by an annoyed Gorsuch.

“No, no!” the justice said. “We’re talking about Section Three. Please don’t change the hypothetical, okay? Please don’t change the hypothetical. I know, I like doing it too, but please don’t do it.”

“The point I’m trying to make is …,” Murray tried pushing back, only to be cut off again.

“He’s disqualified from the moment he committed an insurrection. Whoever it is, whichever party that at, that happens. Boom! It happened,” Gorsuch said, once again describing Trump being disqualified as per Murray’s own example.

“What would compel, and I’m not going to say it again so just try and answer the question. If you don’t have an answer fair enough. We’ll move on. What would compel a lower official to obey an order from that individual?” he added.

Murray replied with a long missive.

“Because ultimately we have statutes and rules requiring chains of command,” he said. “The person is in the office, and even if they don’t have the authority to hold the office, the only way to get someone out of the office of the presidency is impeachment.”

“And so I think if you interpreted Section Three in light of other provisions in the Constitution, like impeachment, while they hold office impeachments, the only way to validate that they don’t have the ability to hold that office and should be removed,” he added.

Responding to the clip of Gorsuch and Murray beefing, many critics felt slightly sorry for the guy given how unprepared he was to go up against Goliath.


Vivek Saxena


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