The decision comes ahead of a highly anticipated U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a Colorado challenge to the 2024 GOP front-runner's candidacy based on the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause.
An Illinois judge ruled Wednesday that former U.S. President Donald Trump cannot appear on the state's presidential primary and general election ballots because of his role in the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection.
Judge Tracie Porter of the State Circuit Court in Cook County sided with Illinois voters who asserted that Trump—the 2024 GOP front-runner—must be disqualified from Illinois' March 19 primary and November 5 general election ballots due to his violation of the 14th Amendment's so-called "insurrection clause."
Porter, a Democrat, placed a stay on her ruling if Trump appeals by Thursday, or if the U.S. Supreme Court issues a highly anticipated ruling in a Colorado case involving a 14th Amendment challenge.
"This is a historic victory," said Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech for People, the co-lead counsel in the case. "Every court or official that has addressed the merits of Trump's constitutional eligibility has found that he engaged in insurrection after taking the oath of office and is therefore disqualified from the presidency."
Enacted after the Civil War, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment bars from public office any "officer of the United States" who has taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution but then participates in an insurrection or rebellion against the country. The text does not require a criminal conviction for the clause to apply.
Plaintiffs' attorney Caryn Lederer called the ruling "a critical decision that is adding to decisions in Colorado and Maine on this point."
Last month, a Maine judge deferred a ruling on yet another insurrection clause challenge, citing the Supreme Court's Colorado case.
Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump's campaign, said that "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."
"This is an unconstitutional ruling that we will quickly appeal," he added.
According toThe New York Times, courts in at least 18 states have dismissed or rejected efforts to exclude Trump from the ballot on 14th Amendment grounds, while unresolved challenges remain in 15 states.