Colorado Court Blocks Trump from 2024 Ballot over Capitol Riot

The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that former President Donald Trump is disqualified from running for president in 2024 in the state, citing his involvement in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. The decision is a major blow to Trump’s political ambitions and a victory for the groups that challenged his eligibility under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.


The 14th Amendment and the Insurrection Clause

The 14th Amendment was adopted after the Civil War to protect the rights of former slaves and to prevent former Confederate officials from holding office. Section 3 of the amendment states that no person who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States, or given aid or comfort to its enemies, shall hold “any office … under the United States.”

The groups that sued Trump in Colorado and other states argued that he violated this clause by inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. They claimed that Trump’s actions amounted to an insurrection against the lawful authority of Congress and the Constitution.

The Colorado Supreme Court’s Ruling

The Colorado Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on December 6, 2023, and issued its ruling on December 20, 2023. The court agreed with the lower court judge that Trump “engaged in an insurrection” on January 6, 2021, by spreading false claims of election fraud, urging his followers to “fight like hell” and “stop the steal”, and failing to stop the violence once it erupted.

However, the court disagreed with the lower court judge on the applicability of the 14th Amendment to the presidency. The lower court judge had ruled that the amendment did not cover the president because it did not explicitly mention the office, and that the president was elected by the electoral college, not by the people directly.

The Colorado Supreme Court rejected this reasoning and held that the 14th Amendment applied to any office under the United States, including the presidency. The court said that the framers of the amendment intended to prevent anyone who had betrayed the nation from holding the highest office in the land. The court also said that the electoral college was not a separate entity from the United States, but a part of its constitutional system.

The court concluded that Trump was disqualified from the presidency under the 14th Amendment and ordered the Colorado Secretary of State to remove his name from the 2024 primary ballot. The court also stayed its ruling until January 4, 2024, to allow Trump to appeal to the US Supreme Court.

The Reaction and the Implications

Trump denounced the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling as a “political witch hunt” and a “disgrace to democracy”. He vowed to challenge the decision at the US Supreme Court and to continue his campaign in other states. He also accused the Colorado justices of being biased and corrupt, and called for their impeachment.

The groups that sued Trump in Colorado celebrated the ruling as a historic victory for the rule of law and the Constitution. They said that the ruling sent a clear message that no one is above the law and that anyone who attacks the foundations of American democracy will face consequences. They also urged other states to follow Colorado’s example and bar Trump from the ballot.

The ruling could have significant implications for the 2024 presidential race, as Colorado is a key swing state that Trump narrowly lost in 2020. If the ruling is upheld by the US Supreme Court, Trump would be unable to compete for the state’s nine electoral votes, which could make a difference in a close election. The ruling could also influence the outcome of similar lawsuits pending in other states, such as Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon, where Trump’s eligibility is also being challenged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *