Here is some of the legal news making the headlines this week:
Former President Donald Trump is fighting efforts in multiple states to disqualify him from running for president again.
- Maine recently became the second state to bar Trump from appearing on the state’s Republican primary election ballot by citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits individuals who engaged in insurrection from holding federal office. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows issued the decision in response to petitions from a handful of Maine voters. Bellows wrote that “the record establishes that Mr. Trump, over the course of several months and culminating on January 6, 2021, used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol to prevent certification of the 2020 election and the peaceful transfer of power. I likewise conclude that Mr. Trump was aware of the likelihood for violence and at least initially supported its use given he both encouraged it with incendiary rhetoric and took no timely action to stop it.” On Tuesday, Trump appealed the decision, arguing, among other things, that Bellows “was a biased decisionmaker who…failed to provide lawful due process.”
- On Wednesday, Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling that disqualified him from running for president in the state. In his court filing, Trump argued that he should not be barred from holding federal office under the 14th Amendment and that “the Colorado Supreme Court erred in how it described President Trump’s role in the events of January 6, 2021. It was not ‘insurrection’ and President Trump in no way ‘engaged’ in ‘insurrection.’” The Colorado Republican Party also petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court. In their filing, the state Republicans wrote that “by excluding President Trump from the ballot, the Colorado Supreme Court engaged in an unprecedented disregard for the First Amendment right of political parties to select the candidates of their choice and a usurpation of the rights of the people to choose their elected officials.” The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
- The Michigan Supreme Court rejected an effort to bar Trump from participating in the state’s 2024 Republican primary election.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts published his 2023 year-end report on the federal judiciary, in which he wrote about the implications of artificial intelligence on the law.
- The Chief Justice predicted that “judicial work…will be significantly affected by AI,” but that “human judges will be around for a while.” Roberts also warned against “dehumanizing the law” and “invading privacy interests.” He wrote that “legal determinations often involve gray areas that still require application of human judgment.”
- Roberts also mentioned some benefits of using artificial intelligence to help in legal practice, which he called the “latest technological frontier.” Most prominently, AI may “increase access to justice, particularly for litigants with limited resources.” He continued by explaining that AI “tools have the welcome potential to smooth out any mismatch between available resources and urgent needs in our court system.”
- In the report, Roberts did not address any of the Court’s recent high-profile cases, the Supreme Court’s ethics controversies, or the various legal cases and prosecutions that former President Donald Trump is facing.
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