In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Colorado declared on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump is ineligible to participate in the state’s primary next year, citing constitutional reasons. This ruling, a first of its kind, originates from a lawsuit that highlighted an obscure clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Previous similar attempts in other states have not been successful.
Colorado court Trump is barred from the presidency by the 14th Amendment
The Colorado court majority found that Trump is barred from the presidency under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. Consequently, the state’s Secretary of State cannot legally place his name on the presidential primary ballot. Secretary of State Jena Griswold is also prohibited from acknowledging any write-in votes for Trump.
This decision has been temporarily stayed until January 4 to allow time for appeals. If the case is presented to the U.S. Supreme Court before then, the stay will continue during the Supreme Court’s consideration, and Trump’s name must be included on the primary ballot until a decision is made.
Moreover, Steven Cheung, Trump’s campaign spokesperson, criticized the verdict and indicated plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He accused the Colorado Supreme Court, appointed entirely by Democrats, of conspiring against Trump to benefit Joe Biden.
Alina Habba, Trump’s personal attorney, condemned the ruling as an attack on American democracy, expressing confidence in its reversal by the Supreme Court.
The Colorado GOP presidential primary is set for March 5. Despite the controversy, Trump did not address the Colorado decision in a recent campaign speech in Iowa.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s 4-3 ruling was made with careful consideration of its gravity and implications, acknowledging the unprecedented nature of the situation.
Moreover, the lawsuit leading to this ruling was initiated by six Colorado voters, assisted by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and two law firms. Noah Bookbinder, the group’s president, hailed the decision as historic and crucial for democracy.
Lower court ruled that Trump was not subject to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment
The ruling counters a lower court’s opinion, which recognized Trump’s involvement in the insurrection but deemed the president not subject to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. However, the state Supreme Court concurred with the lower court about Trump’s insurrection involvement but disagreed on the applicability of the 14th Amendment to the president.
The dissenting opinion, led by Chief Justice Brian Boatright, argued that without a criminal conviction related to insurrection, disqualifying a candidate under the 14th Amendment is inappropriate.
This decision in Colorado contrasts with rulings in Arizona, Michigan, and Minnesota, where similar efforts to disqualify Trump from ballots were unsuccessful. The Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Colorado Republican Party have expressed support for Trump’s legal battle and begun fundraising efforts related to the court’s decision.
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