Colorado Supreme Court to decide Trump’s eligibility for 2024 ballot

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has asked the state’s highest court to rule that former President Donald Trump is ineligible to run for office again, citing his role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The case, which has drawn national attention, will be heard by the Colorado Supreme Court on Thursday, February 8, 2024.

Griswold invokes Section 3 of the 14th Amendment

Griswold, a Democrat who is the top election official in Colorado, filed a brief last week that argued that Trump violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that no person who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or given aid or comfort to its enemies, shall hold any office under the United States. Griswold claimed that Trump’s actions in 2020, which culminated in the violent attack on the Capitol by his supporters, amounted to an insurrection that aimed to overturn the results of the presidential election.

Griswold said that Trump’s conduct was “antithetical to the oath he swore to support the Constitution” and that he should be barred from seeking the presidency again. She also defended Colorado’s process for determining the eligibility of candidates, which involves a state court procedure that can resolve complex issues of fact and law. Griswold said that Colorado should not be forced to include a candidate who has been found by its courts to have engaged in insurrection.

Trump denies involvement in insurrection

Trump, who has not formally announced his candidacy for 2024, has challenged Griswold’s attempt to keep him off the ballot. He filed a brief last week that denied any involvement in the January 6 attack, which resulted in five deaths and hundreds of injuries. Trump said that he did not incite or encourage the violence, and that he acted within his constitutional rights to contest the election results. He also argued that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment does not apply to him, because he was not convicted of any crime related to the insurrection.

Colorado Supreme Court

Trump accused Griswold of engaging in a partisan and unconstitutional effort to silence him and his supporters, and of violating his due process rights. He said that Colorado’s process for determining eligibility is flawed and arbitrary, and that only Congress has the authority to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Trump asked the Colorado Supreme Court to reverse the lower court’s decision that allowed Griswold to proceed with her case.

Colorado voters join the legal battle

The case was originally brought by six Colorado voters, who filed a lawsuit in December 2023 to disqualify Trump from the state’s Republican primary ballot. The voters, who are represented by a group called Free Speech for People, said that they were concerned about the threat that Trump poses to democracy and the rule of law. They said that they witnessed the horrors of the January 6 attack, and that they believe that Trump was responsible for it.

The voters said that Trump is an “oath-breaking insurrectionist” who should not be allowed to run for office again, and that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was designed to prevent such a scenario. They said that they have a right to vote for candidates who are eligible under the Constitution, and that Colorado has a duty to enforce its provisions. The voters urged the Colorado Supreme Court to uphold the lower court’s ruling that granted them standing to sue Trump.

The case has national implications

The case, which is one of the first of its kind in the country, could have significant implications for the 2024 presidential election. If the Colorado Supreme Court rules that Trump is ineligible to run for office, other states could follow suit and bar him from their ballots. This could affect Trump’s chances of securing the Republican nomination, and of challenging President Joe Biden, who is expected to seek re-election.

The case could also set a precedent for how Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is interpreted and applied in the future. The provision, which was enacted after the Civil War to prevent former Confederate officials from holding office, has rarely been invoked or enforced in U.S. history. The case could spark a debate over the meaning and scope of the term “insurrection”, and the role of the courts and the states in enforcing it.

The Colorado Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 9 a.m. The court will livestream the proceedings on its website. A decision is expected within a few months.

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