(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump scored a crucial legal victory after the US Supreme Court overturned a decision by Colorado’s highest court that had removed him from 2024 ballots over his actions inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

The unsigned unanimous ruling effectively ends efforts to have Trump disqualified from running for president again under Section 3 of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment. That post-Civil War provision explicitly bars from federal office those who have engaged in insurrection in violation of a previous oath to uphold the nation’s highest law.

Monday’s result had been widely expected after oral arguments last month in which all of the justices, conservative and liberal, had expressed skepticism about the Colorado court ruling. But though all the justices agreed on the outcome, four justices disagreed with the majority holding that only Congress can enforce Section 3, disturbing the political comity that many had hoped to achieve.

Here are five major takeaways from the ruling:

The Ruling Ends All Ballot Challenges

The justices all found that states cannot enforce Section 3, as allowing them to do so would would create a “patchwork” of enforcement that could result in damaging inconsistencies. The ruling therefore ends such challenges not just in Colorado, but also in Maine and Illinois, where judges had also ruled that Trump should be removed from ballots as an insurrectionist. 

“Conflicting state outcomes concerning the same candidate could result not just from differing views of the merits, but from variations in state law governing the proceedings that are necessary to make Section 3 disqualification determinations,” the court held. Under a worst-case scenario, states might try to enforce the provision after an election, resulting in millions of votes being nullified and potentially changing an election outcome. “Nothing in the Constitution requires that we endure such chaos — arriving at any time or different times, up to and perhaps beyond the Inauguration,” the court said.

Only Congress Can Disqualify Trump

A majority of justices held that only Congress has the power to disqualify a candidate under Section 3. That had been a major point of contention, as the provision only specifies that Congress has the power to remove disqualification by a two-thirds majority. Trump’s lawyers had argued that the language concerning removal meant Congress had exclusive authority over Section 3. Those arguing for disqualification had pointed out that other sections of the 14th Amendment, which is the basis for many civil rights laws, were considered self-executing.

But five of the court’s conservatives — John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas — justified their finding by interpreting Section 5, which says Congress “shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation” the provisions of the 14th Amendment.

Four Justices Say the Majority Went Too Far

The court’s three liberal justices — Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson — issued a separate opinion agreeing with the majority that states can’t enforce Section 3 but saying the court shouldn’t have decided whether Congress has exclusive authority to disqualify a federal candidate. One conservative justice, Amy Coney Barrett, also issued a separate opinion saying she would have preferred the court to confine its finding to state power.

All four stressed that it was unnecessary for the court to create a new rule to decide the Colorado case. The liberals said the finding of congressional exclusivity “shuts the door” on other paths to disqualification, including a federal court finding that a candidate engaged in insurrection. They accused the majority of creating a “special rule” that insulates “all alleged insurrectionists from future challenges to their holding federal office.” 

The Court Couldn’t Avoid Seeming Political

The tenor of the oral arguments had led many to predict a unanimous decision meant to display the court’s unity on a politically charged issue, in contrast to is controversial 5-4 ruling in 2000’s Bush v. Gore. But the split on congressional exclusivity highlighted the continuing divide. The liberal justices accused the conservative majority of deciding the case in order to insulate Trump from future Section 3 challenges and even cited the dissent in Bush v. Gore, saying, “What it does today, the Court should have left undone.” 

They also took aim at many of the conservative justices’ professed adherence to textualism, by which they claim decisions must closely follow to the clear language of the law. “Nothing in Section 3’s text supports the majority’s view of how federal disqualification efforts must operate,” they wrote.

Barrett issued a two-paragraph concurrence in which she said she agreed with the liberal justices but criticized the “stridency” of their opinion. She said “writings on the court should turn the national temperature down, not up.”

The Court Didn’t Decide If Trump Engaged in Insurrection

Trump, who appointed a third of the court, was spared a potentially damaging analysis of his conduct on Jan. 6, 2021 — the actions at the heart of the underlying dispute. None of the justices weighed in on Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election, or his actions on the day a mob of his supporters attacked the US Capitol to try to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory.

The Colorado Supreme Court, in contrast, eviscerated Trump’s behavior in ruling that he engaged in insurrection. By ruling that Colorado couldn’t enforce Section 3, the Supreme Court sidestepped the factual issues entirely. And by saying Congress has exclusive power to enforce Section 3, it also ruled that no court, state or federal, had the power to disqualify Trump based on such a finding. 

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