The Colorado Supreme Court has recently announced its decision to hear an appeal regarding the eligibility of former President Donald Trump to appear on the state’s ballot in the upcoming year as reported in an article by the Conservative Brief on November 27, 2023.
This development follows a lower court ruling by Judge Sarah B. Wallace, who, while finding Trump guilty of engaging in an insurrection, concluded that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment does not explicitly disqualify a person from running for the presidency.
In her earlier ruling, Judge Wallace expressed a reluctance to interpret the 14th Amendment in a way that would disqualify a presidential candidate without clear, unmistakable language indicating such intent.
She argued that the term “officers of the United States” in Section 3 did not necessarily include the President of the United States.
The judge noted that the drafters of Section 3 may not have intended to include an individual who had only taken the Presidential Oath.
The potential implications of this case extend beyond Colorado, as a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would mean that Trump’s name would not appear on the primary or general election ballot in the state for the upcoming presidential race.
While Colorado is not considered a swing state, the outcome of this case could set a precedent that inspires other states to take similar actions against the former president.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a left-leaning organization based in Washington, is representing some Republican and independent voters in Colorado who filed the lawsuit.
Their claim centers on the allegation that Trump incited his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, though he had explicitly called for a peaceful march to voice disapproval of the election certification on behalf of Joe Biden.
The incident on January 6, 2021, has been a source of contention, with Trump’s opponents labeling it an “insurrection,” while others argue it was a protest that escalated into a riot.
The case in Colorado reflects a broader debate on the interpretation of events surrounding that day and whether they warrant disqualification from running for office.
Notably, a similar case emerged in Michigan, where a state judge rejected a lawsuit attempting to keep Trump off the ballot under the same constitutional provision.
Judge James Redford ruled that, because Trump followed state law in qualifying for the primary ballot, the court could not declare him ineligible for the presidency.
Redford further argued that the question of whether Trump should be disqualified under the 14th Amendment should be left to Congress, emphasizing that such determinations involve complex considerations best suited for the legislative branch.
The decision in Michigan prompted Free Speech For People, a liberal group involved in 14th Amendment cases across various states, to announce its intention to appeal the ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals.
In the midst of these legal battles, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung dismissed the cases as “un-Constitutional left-wing fantasies” orchestrated by allies of the Biden campaign.
The cases, he argued, aimed to overturn the election through the courts and deny the American people the right to choose their next president.
As these legal challenges unfold in different states, the interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s Section 3 and its application to the events of January 6, 2021, remains a contentious issue with far-reaching implications for the eligibility of political figures in future elections.