Cook County Judge Orders Removal of Donald Trump’s Name from Republican Primary Ballot, Pending Appeal

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Former President Donald Trump’s name has been ordered to be removed from the Republican primary ballot in Illinois by Cook County Judge Tracie Porter. However, the order has been stayed until Friday to allow for an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

In a detailed decision, Judge Porter stated that the Illinois State Board of Elections had reached the wrong conclusion when rejecting a petition by five Illinois voters who objected to Trump’s candidacy. The objectors argued that Trump’s involvement in the January 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol constituted an “insurrection,” which disqualified him under the 14th Amendment.

Lead attorney for the objectors, Caryn Lederer, hailed Porter’s decision as contributing to the growing consensus among courts that condemn Trump’s role in the Capitol attack. Lederer emphasized the importance of upholding the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution.

A spokesperson for Trump, Steven Cheung, confirmed that they would appeal the decision, calling it “unconstitutional.” Cheung criticized the Illinois judge for overriding the state’s board of elections and contradicting decisions made by other jurisdictions.

The decision in Illinois coincides with a similar challenge to Trump’s candidacy in Colorado that is currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. While the court has not yet issued a decision on the Colorado case, it heard oral arguments on February 8th.

Initially, an administrative hearing officer recommended dismissing the objection in Illinois. The retired Republican judge, Clark Erickson, acknowledged that Trump’s actions surrounding the Capitol attack may have constituted an insurrection but stated that the Board of Elections did not have the authority to address such matters.

The Board of Elections agreed with Erickson’s recommendation and unanimously dismissed the objection on January 30th. They also concluded that the objectors failed to prove Trump knowingly lied on his statement of candidacy when declaring his eligibility for the presidency in Illinois.

Subsequently, the objectors sought a judicial review in Cook County Circuit Court. Judge Porter’s order on Wednesday reversed the board’s decision, highlighting the fact that Trump filed his statement of candidacy on January 4th, 2024, after the Colorado Supreme Court disqualified him for engaging in an insurrection.

Porter agreed with the election board’s findings that Trump had likely engaged in insurrection and concluded that he had “falsely swore” that he was qualified for the presidency. She deemed the board’s decision to allow Trump to remain on the ballot as “clearly erroneous.”