SCOTUS dispatch: outside the Supreme Court after the Trump v. Anderson oral arguments Dispatches
JURIST // Marissa Zapancic
SCOTUS dispatch: outside the Supreme Court after the Trump v. Anderson oral arguments

Marissa Zupancic is JURIST’s Washington DC Correspondent, a JURIST Senior Editor and a 3L at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She’s stationed in Washington during her Semester in DC.

After sitting in the Supreme Court last Wednesday to hear the oral arguments in Trump v. Anderson, a case brought by Colorado voters seeking to remove former President Donald Trump from the ballot due to his alleged violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s “insurrection clause,” press events were held on the steps of the court. I was there as a correspondent for JURIST.

Press events 

When I found my way out of the courtroom and proceeded to the steps around 12:30 PM EST, a group of secretaries of state from different states were in the middle of giving a press conference. Diego Morales, the Indiana Secretary of State supporting the petitioner, emphasized that he believed that “the American people should choose who their next leader is, not the court.” He also encouraged people to vote in the upcoming presidential election in November. Frank LaRose, the Secretary of State for Ohio, also spoke, where he made clear that in his view, “I owe a duty to the 8 million registered voters in my state to make sure that they have a free and fair opportunity to choose who their party’s nominee is going to be for president.” All speakers during this particular press event echoed similar values, calling on the court to give the choice to the people to vote for whomever they want. While the secretaries for the petitioner spoke, a group of protesters gathered around the crowd, holding signs saying “remove Trump” and “Trump is a traitor,” shouted phrases like “Trump is a traitor,” “Trump is a sexual predator” and “Trump is a criminal.” The group of secretaries told the crowd they anticipated a quick ruling, possibly even by Monday, February 12.

Next, the Colorado voters and their legal counsel spoke at the same spot on the court steps. 91-year-old lead plaintiff Norma Anderson was there, as well as co-plaintiff Krista Kafer and legal counsel Jason Murray, who argued in front of the court. Murray reflected on the questions asked by the justices, stating “You don’t do hard things without asking hard questions. And even though we are right on the law, we understand that what we are asking the court to recognize is something extraordinary.” Kafer spoke as well, sharing that she voted for Trump in 2020 and is a registered Republican. She further explained how the events of January 6 impacted her, ultimately leading her to sue the former president.

JURIST exclusive interviews

Krista Kafer, plaintiff

Following the press conference, I had the opportunity to interview Kafer and Noah Bookbinder, the president and CEO of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW). CREW is a co-counsel involved in the lawsuit. Since filing the lawsuit against Trump, Kafer explained that her relationship with the Republican Party had deteriorated and that she “won’t be invited to the Christmas party.” Kafer was censured by the Arapahoe County Republican Party following the lawsuit. Kafer further stated, “I think it’s very important that Republicans stand up for the rule of law, the Constitution and for the words written by Republicans of yesteryear. I mean, that’s who wrote the 14th Amendment. To stand by the rule of law is very important to me as a Republican.” When asked how this lawsuit is not “anti-democratic” by removing a candidate from a ballot, Kafer stressed that Trump’s actions on January 6 were an insurrection and that “if you try to subvert our democracy, you don’t get to run again.”

Noah Bookbinder, president and CEO of CREW

Bookbinder said that the court ruling in favor of the Colorado voters would help clarify and uphold the rule of law in the US. Specifically, he explained that “Trump never accepted the results of the 2020 election and ultimately incited a violent insurrection. If somebody is powerful, if somebody is popular, then we don’t have rule of law anymore.” Depending on how the court rules, Bookbinder said that CREW would respect the ruling because they follow the rule of law but would be looking for other ways within the legal system to continue their fight.


Three different groups of protesters were scattered across the front of the court, so I took the time to interview them as well. First, I spoke with Robin Galbraith, who held a sign that said “Justices should not have sugar daddies. Support the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act.” Galbraith explained that she has been protesting for one hour each day outside of the court following ProPublica’s report that Justice Clarence Thomas allegedly failed to report gifts from donors, including “Republican mega-donor” Harlan Crow (Justice Samuel Alito also allegedly failed to disclose a luxury fishing trip he took with a hedge fund billionaire, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s staff also pushed public institutions that hosted her to purchase her books). Galbraith shared that since the report came out, she has been informing visitors to the court about the ongoing ethics questions concerning some of the justices and has spoken to people from 46 different states across all political affiliations. Finally, she told me that while Trump v. Anderson was not the main reason she was out protesting that day, she thinks, “Somebody who leads an insurrection shouldn’t be on the ballot based on our Constitution, but I’m out here every day for an hour anyway.”

I next spoke with Stephen Parlato, who held a large sign that read  “His Lies Tear Us Apart! 2024 America’s Very Soul is on Trial.” He explained that he flew out from Boulder, Colorado, to protest at the court on February 8. He also claimed to have been the sole protester outside of the Colorado Supreme Court when it heard arguments to decide on Trump’s ballot eligibility. He shared that he is “petrified” to have another Trump presidency.

Finally, I spoke with a group of protesters all wearing hoodies with phrases like “Trump is a traitor” to hear why they came out to the court that day. The group said it was formed because they strongly dislike Trump and feel that “Trump is not an emblem of our country. He doesn’t inspire trust or confidence in the United States.” Their group plans on starting a nationwide grassroots effort against the former president, working to get him off the ballot and remain out of office. They concluded by saying, “Trump screwed up multiple times by tearing up our nation [on January 6] and does not deserve to run for reelection.”

The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its opinion in Trump v. Anderson before Colorado primary voting begins in March.