Colorado Supreme Court Disqualifies Trump From 2024 Election Ballot, Citing State’s ‘Insurrectionist Clause’

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a 4-3 opinion that the State Constitution’s ‘Insurrection Clause’ prohibits former President Donald Trump from appearing on the ballot for the presidency in 2024…

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n advance sheet headnote on the matter states that “President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” and that since “he is disqualified, it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code for the Colorado Secretary of State to list him as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot.” 

The ruling reads:

“The court found by clear and convincing evidence that President Trump engaged in insurrection as those terms are used in Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

The provocative ruling partially reverses a prior ruling from Colorado District Court Judge Sarah Wallace, who ruled in November that Trump is not an officer of the United States as defined by the Fourteenth Amendment and that the Amendment therefore cannot be used to disqualify him from appearing on the Colorado primary ballot.

The four judges who voted to ban Trump from the ballot are Monica M. Márquez, Melissa Hart, William W. Hood III and Richard L. Gabriel, and were appointed by former Gov. and now Senator John Hickenlooper.

In his dissent, Chief Justice Boatright wrote:

“Dismissal is particularly appropriate here because the Electors brought their challenge without a determination from a proceeding (e.g., a prosecution for an insurrection-related offense) with more rigorous procedures to ensure adequate due process.”

In partially reversing Wallace, the Court all but dared the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and intervene by January 4, 2024:

“If review is sought in the Supreme Court before the stay expires on January 4, 2024, then the stay shall remain in place, and the Secretary will continue to be required to include President Trump’s name on the 2024 presidential primary ballot, until the receipt of any order or mandate from the Supreme Court.”

The Court disagreed with Trump’s claims that his actions were protected free speech. “We consider and reject President Trump’s argument that his speech on January 6 was protected by the First Amendment,” the ruling reads, seemingly ignoring Trump’s calls that day for protesters to conduct themselves “peacefully and patriotically.”

The opinion reads:

The fact that, at one point during his speech, President Trump said that “everyone here will soon be marching to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” does not persuade us that the district court erred in finding that the first prong of the Brandenberg test was met. See Thompson, 590 F. Supp. 3d at 113–14. This isolated reference “cannot inoculate [President 20 Thompson involved a motion to dismiss. As a result, the court determined only that President Trump’s speech “plausibly [involved] words of incitement not protected by the First Amendment.”

The Court’s unilateral determination that Trump engaged in insurrection comes despite Trump having never been convicted of that – or any other – crime, or even been charged in court with the crime of insurrection:

The court ruled against Trump on the conclusion that his exhortation, made nearly an hour later, to ‘fight like hell’ immediately before sending rally-goers to the Capitol, within the context of the larger speech and circumstances, was not protected expression.

Trump was also acquitted by the U.S. Senate of charges of engaging in insurrection and continues to deny any wrongdoing. In support of its legal assertion, the Court cites the U.S. House January 6 Select Committee, notwithstanding that Trump was acquitted of the House’s charges in the Senate.

“Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung issued a statement reading: Unsurprisingly, the all-Democrat appointed Colorado Supreme Court has ruled against President Trump, supporting a Soros-funded, left-wing group’s scheme to interfere in an election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden by removing President Trump’s name from the ballot and eliminating the rights of Colorado voters to vote for the candidate of their choice. Democrat Party leaders are in a state of paranoia over the growing, dominant lead President Trump has amassed in the polls. They have lost faith in the failed Biden presidency and are now doing everything they can to stop the American voters from throwing them out of office next November. The Colorado Supreme Court issued a completely flawed decision tonight and we will swiftly file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court and a concurrent request for a stay of this deeply undemocratic decision. We have full confidence that the Supreme Court will quickly rule in our favor and finally put an end to these unAmerican lawsuits.”

In another dissent, Justice Carlos Samour wrote:

“Given the current absence of federal legislation to enforce Section Three, and given that President Trump has not been charged pursuant to section 2383, the district court should have granted his September 29 motion to dismiss. The court received and considered a partial congressional report, the admissibility of which is not beyond reproach… I have been involved in the justice system for thirty-three years now, and what took place here doesn’t resemble anything I’ve seen in a courtroom.”

The Colorado lawsuit is one of many filed in states across the country citing the ’s “Insurrection Clause” for booting Trump from the ballot. Liberal groups strategically filed cases in jurisdictions across the country to keep Trump off the ballot in what his supporters have termed “lawfare,” but Trump has received favorable outcomes in New Hampshire, Minnesota, Michigan, and before Tuesday’s ruling was overturned, Colorado.

The US Supreme Court, which has never ruled definitively on the meaning of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. Ballots for Colorado’s primary, which takes place March 5, 2024, must be certified by January 5, leading to the Colorado Supreme Court’s deadline for the U.S. Supreme Court to Act before that date. ✪

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