The Supreme Court has expressed skepticism of Colorado’s decision to disqualify Donald Trump from running for presidency.
A landmark case that could decide whether the former president can run in November’s election heard arguments from both sides of the case as Trump appeals the decision.
The Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority, after Mr Trump appointed three justices while in the White House and all but one of the nine sounded doubtful about backing the lower court’s ruling in Thursday’s opening session.
Colorado’s court ruled in December Mr Trump was not eligible to be on the Republican primary ballot because he engaged in insurrection over the 2021 US Capitol riot.
However, Trump’s lawyers argue that the 6 January attacks were a “riot”, not an insurrection.
Chief justice John Roberts said that if the Colorado decision is upheld, other states will also hold disqualification proceedings, adding “it will come down to just a handful of states that are going to decide the presidential election, a pretty daunting consequence.”
The case will be decided with reference to amendment 14 of the US constitution, which bans anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from competing in an election.
The legal challenge was filed on behalf of six Colorado residents, four of whom are Republicans, by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and two law firms.
Mr Trump’s lawyer, Jonathan Mitchell, claimed his client is not subject to the disqualification language in the constitution, because a president is not an “officer of the United States,” a title which means an appointed official, as they are elected.