In a landmark decision on Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that former President Donald Trump is ineligible to appear on the state's 2024 primary ballot. This groundbreaking judgment, based on constitutional grounds, marks a significant moment in American politics.
The ruling emanates from a lawsuit that highlighted an obscure clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Despite similar challenges in other states faltering, Colorado's decision stands out. The court declared, “President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
As such, it would be unlawful for the Colorado Secretary of State to list him as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot”. Further clarifying the judgment, the court explicitly instructed Secretary of State Jena Griswold not to include Trump's name in the 2024 presidential primary ballot or acknowledge any write-in votes for him.
This decision is temporarily on hold until January 4, allowing time for potential appeals. Should the case reach the U.S. Supreme Court before then, the suspension will extend, requiring Colorado to include Trump’s name on the ballot pending the Supreme Court’s direction.
Trump Team Rebukes Ruling
Trump’s campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, vehemently criticized the ruling, accusing the Colorado Supreme Court, composed entirely of Democrat appointees, of political bias. He expressed confidence in the U.S.
Supreme Court overturning this decision. Alina Habba, Trump’s personal lawyer, echoed these sentiments, describing the ruling as a direct attack on American democracy and expressing trust in the Supreme Court to reverse this “unconstitutional order”.
Despite the ruling’s significance, Trump did not mention it in his Iowa campaign speech on Tuesday night. The Colorado judges, in their 4-3 decision, acknowledged the gravity and unprecedented nature of their conclusion, emphasizing their commitment to impartial legal application.
Filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and two law firms on behalf of six Colorado voters, the suit received support from Noah Bookbinder, the group's president. He hailed the ruling as historic, justified, and essential for safeguarding democracy.
The state Supreme Court’s decision challenges a lower court’s ruling, which, while acknowledging Trump’s insurrectionary behavior, stated that presidents are exempt from Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
The state Supreme Court disagreed, affirming that Trump, as an elected officer of the United States, was subject to this provision. Chief Justice Brian Boatright, in his dissent, emphasized the absence of a criminal conviction against Trump as a basis for his disagreement with disqualifying Trump under the 14th Amendment.
This ruling is unique as similar attempts to disqualify Trump in Arizona, Michigan, and Minnesota have been unsuccessful. The Republican National Committee, led by Ronna McDaniel, has vowed to support Trump’s legal battle, stressing that Republican voters should determine their nominee, not a state court.
In response, the Colorado Republican Party has launched a fundraising campaign, rallying supporters to help keep Trump on the ballot and contest this perceived election interference.