In Illinois, a retired judge has recommended the removal of former President Donald Trump from the primary ballot. The judge cited his alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol as insurrection.
The decision, as per the recommendation, should be deferred to the courts, and the Illinois State Board of Elections is slated to review this guidance on Tuesday.
Clark Erickson, the hearing officer overseeing arguments presented by Trump’s attorneys and citizens opposing his presence on the ballot, suggested that a “preponderance of the evidence” supports the conclusion that Trump participated in insurrection.
Erickson, a retired Republican judge from Kankakee County, emphasized the need for a comprehensive constitutional analysis, an endeavor beyond the scope of an expedited election board hearing.
The move to exclude Trump from the March 19 primary ballot in Illinois mirrors similar efforts in other states.
The US Supreme Court is scheduled to deliberate next month on a landmark Colorado Supreme Court ruling seeking Trump’s removal from that state’s ballot, marking the first examination of the 14th Amendment’s provision preventing individuals who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office.
Illinois Board Decides Despite Judge’s Advice
While Erickson’s recommendation suggests Trump’s disqualification, he acknowledges the election board’s limitations in conducting an in-depth constitutional analysis within the tight timeframe of the primary election schedule.
Despite the judge’s recommendation, the Illinois State Board of Elections, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, will have the ultimate say.
Free Speech for People, leading the Illinois ballot effort, commended the retired judge’s stance but argued that Illinois law empowers the board to make the decision.
“We expect that the board and ultimately Illinois courts will uphold Judge Erickson’s thoughtful analysis of why Trump is disqualified from office but — with the greatest respect — correct him on why Illinois law authorizes that ruling,” commented Ron Fein, legal director for the group.
As of Sunday, there was no immediate response from Trump’s campaign regarding the recommendation. The board’s decision holds significant implications for Trump’s eligibility in the upcoming Illinois primary.