As 2023 approaches its end, the Colorado Republicans challenge Trump's ballot exclusion, escalating legal battle.
This move sets the stage for a potential showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court over the interpretation of a 155-year-old constitutional provision.
The Colorado high court's 4-3 ruling, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, concluded that Trump, due to his role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, is barred from holding office. This is the first time this provision has been invoked to block a presidential contender's campaign.
The Republican appeal aims to extend the stay on the state court's ruling until Jan. 4, coinciding with the day before the state's primary ballots are due. Trump, expressing his intent to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, remains determined to challenge the decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prevents those who engaged in insurrection from holding office. The decision to take up this case could have significant implications for Trump's candidacy and the interpretation of constitutional provisions.
By excluding President Trump from the ballot, the Colorado Supreme Court engaged in an unprecedented disregard for the First Amendment right of political parties to select the candidates of their choice and a usurpation of the rights of the people to choose their elected officials.- Attorneys for the state Republican party wrote in a petition of the Dec. 19 ruling
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold noted that with the appeal filed, Trump would be included as a candidate on the state's primary ballot unless the U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the case or upholds the state supreme court's ruling.
The legal arguments involve the interpretation of Section 3 and whether it is "self-executing."
The Colorado GOP contends that the state court's decision could set a precedent, allowing any voter to sue and disqualify a candidate based on accusations of insurrection. The party emphasizes the potential distortion of the 2024 presidential election and future political controversies.
Given the upcoming Super Tuesday primaries on March 5, lawyers on both sides are urging an accelerated timeline. Requests have been made for the Supreme Court to decide on the merits of the case by February 11, considering the significant national implications.
While the case has drawn attention due to its potential impact on Trump's candidacy, the constitutional questions involved have not strictly followed partisan lines. The unprecedented nature of this case raises fundamental questions about the application of Section 3.
Rejecting a long history of precedent, a state Supreme Court has now concluded that individual litigants, state courts, and secretaries of state in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have authority to enforce Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.- The state part
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a commit to caucus campaign event at the Whiskey River bar on Dec. 2 in Ankeny, Iowa.
Trump has criticized the cases as "election interference," emphasizing the potential implications on the 2024 primary election. He continues to assert his right to appear on the ballot and views the Colorado Supreme Court's decision as an affront to the First Amendment.
The Colorado GOP warns that if other states follow Colorado's lead, excluding Trump from their ballots, it could result in a cascading effect.
Currently, disqualification lawsuits related to Trump's appearance on the ballot are pending in 13 states, adding complexity to the legal landscape.
Significantly, Colorado’s election laws differ from Michigan’s laws in a material way that is directly relevant to why the appellants in this case are not entitled to the relief they seek concerning the presidential primary election in Michigan.- Justice Elizabeth Welch
As the legal battle intensifies, all eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court, which holds the key to shaping the course of Trump's political future and establishing precedent on the interpretation of constitutional provisions regarding insurrection.