Colorado Bars Trump From State Ballot Under Insurrection Clause

DENVER, CO. – In a groundbreaking decision on Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme Court rendered former President Donald Trump ineligible for the White House, citing the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause.

This historic move resulted in Trump’s removal from the state’s presidential primary ballot, setting the stage for a potential legal showdown in the nation’s highest court to determine whether the GOP front-runner can maintain his candidacy.

The 4-3 decision, handed down by a court whose justices were appointed by Democratic governors, marks the first instance in history where Section 3 of the 14th Amendment has been invoked to disqualify a presidential candidate. The court ruled that Trump is disqualified from holding the presidency under this constitutional provision.

Donald Trump Camapign Speech
Trump will be removed (effectively immediately) by the Colorado Supreme Court decision, late Tuesday evening. Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS Getty Images
Trump will be removed (effectively immediately) by the Colorado Supreme Court decision, late Tuesday evening. Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS Getty Images

This decision overturned a prior ruling from a district court judge who acknowledged Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol but questioned whether the insurrection clause was intended to cover the presidency.

The Colorado Supreme Court, however, took a different stance, emphasizing the gravity of the questions before them and their duty to apply the law without bias.

The court’s majority stated, “We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” acknowledging the weight of their decision and the solemn duty to interpret the law. The ruling also highlighted that it stays in effect until January 4, awaiting a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the case.

WE DO NOT REACH THESE CONCLUSIONS LIGHTLY – The Colorado Supreme Court’s majority

Trump’s legal team promptly vowed to appeal any disqualification to the nation’s highest court, which holds the final authority on constitutional matters. The former president’s campaign is formulating a response to the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision.

While Trump did not need Colorado to secure victory in the 2020 election, the implications of this ruling extend beyond one state. The concern for the former president lies in the possibility of more courts and election officials following Colorado’s lead, potentially excluding him from critical states in the upcoming presidential election.

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright AP Photo/David Zalubowski, Pool
Colorado officials emphasize the urgency of resolving the issue by January 5, the deadline for printing presidential primary ballots in the state. The legal landscape is already rife with dozens of lawsuits nationally seeking to disqualify Trump under Section 3, a provision initially aimed at preventing former Confederates from returning to government after the Civil War.

The Colorado case stands out as the first successful instance where plaintiffs prevailed. District Judge Sarah B. Wallace’s previous ruling, based on technical grounds, kept Trump on the ballot, but the state’s highest court has now taken a different stance. It rejected the argument that Section 3 does not apply to the president and aligned with the plaintiffs who contended that excluding the highest office would defy the framers’ intent.

As the legal drama unfolds, the decision in Colorado sets the stage for a potential constitutional clash at the national level, with implications for Trump’s candidacy and the broader interpretation of the insurrection clause.

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