Subject: NCC Legislative Update – March 5, 2024

March 5, 2024

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Former President Donald Trump in Presidential Primary Ballot Case


Despite the efforts of states around the country to ban former President Donald Trump from appearing on the 2024 presidential primary ballots, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that only Congress, not the states, has the power to prevent presidential candidates from appearing on ballots.

Last December, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that by inciting the riots on January 6, 2021, Mr. Trump violated the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause (section 3) which states, “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

According to the unsigned opinion by the nine Supreme Court justices, the clause, “was designed to help ensure an enduring Union by preventing former Confederates from returning to power in the aftermath of the Civil War.” The Court ruled that while “States may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office, they have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency.”

In separate concurring opinions, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett held the decision went too far in addressing, “the complicated question whether federal legislation is the exclusive vehicle through which Section 3 can be enforced.” Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson disagreed that legislation is the only vehicle to enforce the clause, saying, they “concur only in the judgment” and “protest the majority’s effort to use this case to define the limits of federal enforcement of that provision.”


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Congress Passes Another Stop-gap Bill to Avert Government Shutdown


One day after House and Senate leaders released a joint statement expressing an agreement to work together in a bipartisan manner to pass the 12 appropriations bills, Congress passed, and President Biden signed into law another stop-gap funding bill to allow time for appropriators to work through the various parts of the appropriations process that includes drafting, reporting, scoring, reviewing, and finally passing legislation to avert a government shutdown.

According to the statement, “the first six appropriations bills—Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice and Science, Energy and Water Development, Interior, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD will be voted on and enacted prior to March 8.

The remaining six Appropriations bills—Defense, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS, Legislative Branch and State and Foreign Operations—will be finalized, voted on and enacted prior to March 22.”


Since last September, Congress passed several short-term, temporary funding bills. Continued indecision and uncertainty in Congress is taking a toll on families who rely on critical federal programs to survive. The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA again urges Congress to keep its commitments and work together to pass the appropriations bills in a timely manner.


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Tune In: The State of the Union Address

On Thursday, March 7, at 9 p.m. ET, President Joe Biden will address a Joint Session of Congress at the United States Capitol. To watch the State of the Union speech live, visit WH.gov/sotu.

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