Sen. Thom Tillis

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) speaks at a news conference on the Supreme Court at the U.S. Capitol Building on July 19, 2023 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

'Idiotic': GOP Senator Proposes Cutting Funds for States That Bar Trump From Ballot

Sen. Thom Tillis' bill also states that the Supreme Court "shall have sole jurisdiction to decide" cases involving the Constitution's insurrection clause.

Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis announced late Tuesday that he plans to introduce legislation to slash federal funding for states whose lawmakers or judges disqualify presidential candidates from the ballot, as Colorado's Supreme Court did with former President Donald Trump in a landmark ruling.

Tillis (N.C.) said in a statement following the decision that "regardless of whether you support or oppose former President Donald Trump, it is outrageous to see left-wing activists make a mockery of our political system by scheming with partisan state officials and pressuring judges to remove him from the ballot."

"American voters, not partisan activists, should decide who we elect as our president," he added.

Tillis' legislation, titled the Constitutional Election Integrity Act, would prevent federal funds from being used to "administer any election for federal office in a state that has in effect a law or policy to prohibit a candidate for the office of president who is otherwise eligible from appearing on the ballot for such office using Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution."

The bill also states that the U.S. Supreme Court—which is likely to hear the Trump campaign's appeal of the Colorado ruling in the coming weeks—"shall have sole jurisdiction to decide" matters related to Section 3, which is known as the insurrection clause. The clause bars those who have "engaged in insurrection" from holding office.

Aaron Fritschner, deputy chief of staff for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), called Tillis' bill "an idiotic response" to the Colorado Supreme Court's decision.

"If the Supreme Court overturns CO this will be unnecessary, if they uphold it will be unconstitutional," Fritschner wrote on social media.

Following Tuesday's ruling, Trump's presidential campaign expressed "full confidence" that the U.S. Supreme Court—which consists of three Trump-appointed justices—will "quickly rule in our favor and finally put an end to these un-American lawsuits."

Legal efforts to bar Trump from the 2024 ballot under the insurrection clause are currently underway in more than a dozen states across the U.S.

In recent weeks, judges in Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire have ruled that Trump—who is currently facing more than 90 criminal charges, including several stemming from his incitement of the January 6, 2021 attack—can stay on the states' presidential primary ballots despite what even some conservative scholars say is a clear legal case for disqualification under the 14th Amendment.

A majority of Colorado's high court agreed with that position, ruling Tuesday that Trump's actions in the lead-up to the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol constituted engagement in insurrection and were therefore disqualifying under the 14th Amendment.

"We do not reach these conclusions lightly," the decision reads. "We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach."

The ruling is stayed until January 4, 2024, the day before the deadline to certify Colorado's presidential primary ballot.

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