Former President Donald Trump will stay on Colorado’s ballot as a state court judge ruled against disqualifying him from the 2024 presidential primary ballot on Friday. The decision comes as part of a series of lawsuits challenging Trump’s candidacy under the US Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.
While Denver District Court Judge Sarah B. Wallace ordered Colorado’s Secretary of State to include Trump’s name on the presidential primary ballot, the judge also ruled that Trump “engaged in insurrection.” The decision follows a weeklong trial featuring witnesses like Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and police officers present during the insurrection. Wallace’s ruling is expected to face appeals to the Colorado Supreme Court and will likely make its way up to the US Supreme Court.
Six Republican and unaffiliated Colorado voters initiated the lawsuit, including former state, federal and local officials represented by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a left-leaning ethics watchdog. They argue that Trump violated the Fourteenth Amendment by allegedly inciting the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits individuals from holding public office if they have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the US. Trump’s legal team countered by denying his role in inciting violence and challenged the court’s authority to rule on his candidacy under the Fourteenth Amendment.
The legal challenges to Trump’s candidacy under the Fourteenth Amendment are not confined to Colorado. Similar cases are pending in more than a dozen states. The Michigan case, dismissed Tuesday, emphasized that the state’s secretary of state cannot unilaterally remove candidates from the ballot under the Fourteenth Amendment. Challengers plan to appeal, and the legal landscape remains uncertain as the 2024 election looms. On November 8, The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld Trump’s placement on the Republican primary ballot for the 2024 presidential race.
The Fourteenth Amendment was previously invoked during the 2022 midterms when efforts to remove Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) ultimately failed. However, it found successful application in the case of Couy Griffin, a local commissioner in New Mexico, who was removed from office and banned from seeking re-election. This was a historical moment as it marked the first use of the Fourteenth Amendment for removing a public official since 1869.
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