OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Alina Habba, a lawyer for Donald Trump, has defended her comments suggesting that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will “step up” and rule in favor of the 45th president in the Colorado 2024 ballot decision.
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Habba singled out Kavanaugh as one of the nine justices who should vote in favor of Trump in a potential decision on whether to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court’s December ruling that barred the former president from running for office in the state.
Trump filed an appeal with the United States Supreme Court in response to the historic ruling that said his actions in and around the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The section states that anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after taking an oath of office to support the Constitution is ineligible to run for office again.
The Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority and three judges nominated by Trump to the bench—Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Neil Gorsuch—is expected to hear the case and decide whether the Colorado decision should be upheld or overturned.
In her interview with Hannity, Habba stated that Kavanaugh should rule in favor of Trump in the Colorado decision because the former president “went through hell” to get the judge appointed.
“It should be a slam dunk in the Supreme Court. I have faith in them. People like Kavanaugh, who the president fought for, who the president went through hell to get into place, he’ll step up,” Habba said. “Those people will step up not because they’re pro-Trump, but because they’re pro-law, because they’re pro-fairness, and the law on this is very clear.”
The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will hear whether Trump may be on the ballot, with a decision expected in February that will apply nationwide.
During an interview on MSNBC, former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Joyce Vance called Habba’s comments “appalling.”
“That was a really appalling statement for any lawyer to make, and particularly a lawyer involved in a contest like this,” Vance said. “All federal judges are appointed by a president from one party or another and we expect all of them to leave that political origin story at the door when they take the bench. They decide the cases based on the law and the facts and not on the president who got them there.”
I see everyone conveniently leaving off the last part of Alina Habba’s statement about Justice Kavanaugh: “NOT because they’re Pro-Trump but because they ARE Pro-Law, because they ARE Pro-Fairness” – @AlinaHabba
— Alec Lace (@AlecLace) January 5, 2024
Lawyers for Trump petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court.
Colorado’s decision “is not and cannot be correct in our system of ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people,’” the former president’s attorneys wrote in the court filing that CNN obtained.
CNN reported that the nation’s highest court “is facing mounting pressure to settle the question of whether Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, can be disqualified from holding public office, as state courts and election officials have come to differing conclusions across the country. The first contests of the 2024 primary begin in weeks.”
The outlet noted further: “The high court is separately involved in other matters that could impact the federal criminal case against the former president. Trump’s appeal comes nearly a week after the Colorado GOP, which is also a party in the case, filed a separate appeal, and two weeks after the Colorado ruling came down. The ruling has been put on hold while appeals play out and Colorado’s top election official has already made clear that Trump’s name will be included on the state’s primary ballot when it’s certified on January 5 – unless the US Supreme Court says otherwise.”
Meanwhile, Fox News reported that Republicans are lining up behind Trump, calling the decision by the Colorado court wrong and unprecedented.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, presided over by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., stated in a filing with the Supreme Court that “even if the Colorado Supreme Court were correct that President Trump cannot take office on Inauguration Day, that court had no basis to hold that he cannot run for office.”
Fox added: “Last month, the Colorado Supreme Court, in a 4-3 vote, overturned a lower court ruling that allowed Trump to appear on the ballot as a presidential candidate. In their opinion, the justices on the state’s high court wrote that Trump ‘incited and encouraged’ the use of violence to prevent the peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 6, 2021, when many of his followers stormed the U.S. Capitol.”
Since then, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has also removed Trump from that state’s ballot, citing the Colorado ruling.