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Judge rules Trump off Illinois primary ballot but stays decision pending appeal

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(The Center Square) – A Cook County judge decided former President Donald Trump’s name should be removed from the Illinois primary ballot, but put a hold on the order expecting an appeal. Trump’s campaign said it will “quickly appeal.”

In a 38-page ruling, the circuit court judge said the Illinois State Board of Elections’ unanimous decision to keep Trump on the ballot is overturned.

A group of objectors challenged Trump’s access to the March 19 Illinois primary ballot alleging the former Republican president instigated an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and is ineligible to be elected president. Last month, the state elections board denied their objection. The group appealed to the state circuit court in Cook County.

Wednesday, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Tracie Porter pointed to the Colorado Supreme Court’s action to remove Trump from that state’s ballot based on the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist clause, saying it’s “persuasive law” and the court may consider it as precedent.

“Until the U.S. Supreme Court renders a decision in the Anderson v. Griswold case, now pending before it, reviewing courts are still under a constitutional obligation to apply and interpret the law, and especially, continue the momentum of the electoral process in light of the March general primary elections,” Porter said.

Trump’s objectors “have met their burden by preponderance of the evidence,” Porter said. Her ruling also said that the state elections board “was clearly erroneous in denying” the objection, that the board was in error “finding that the Respondent-Candidate’s Nominations Papers, including his Statement of Candidacy was valid” and the board’s decision to keep Trump on the ballot “is reversed.”

The judge ordered the Illinois State Board of Elections to remove Trump from the March 19 ballot, but put a hold on her order until March 1, “in anticipation of an appeal.”

Trump’s campaign promised to appeal, saying political groups are attempting to interfere with the election and deny Trump “his rightful place on the ballot.”

“Today, an activist Democrat judge in Illinois summarily overruled the state’s board of elections and contradicted earlier decisions from dozens of other state and federal jurisdictions,” said Trump spokesman Steven Cheung. “This is an unconstitutional ruling that we will quickly appeal. In the meantime, President Trump remains on the Illinois ballot, is dominating the polls, and will Make America Great Again!”

Trump has already dominated Republican primaries and caucuses in several other states, becoming the Republican party’s presumptive nominee.

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