Published On: Mon, Oct 30th, 2023

Trial begins on whether Trump should be kept off the 2024 ballot in Colorado

Trial begins on whether Trump should be kept off the 2024 ballot in Colorado
Trial begins on whether Trump should be kept off the 2024 ballot in Colorado

A Denver court will hear arguments Monday in a lawsuit seeking to bar former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot over his role in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

The trial begins after Colorado Judge Sarah Wallace last week rejected the latest attempt by Trump to toss the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of six voters in Denver district court last month.

The lawsuit argues Trump should be prohibited from running in future elections, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which states no person may hold office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after swearing under oath to support and defend the Constitution. The suit alleges Trump violated his oath of office in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The lawsuit was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and several law firms on behalf of six Republican and unaffiliated voters.

In her ruling last week, Wallace dismissed Trump’s argument that Congress, not the courts, has the authority to handle questions about ballot eligibility. She also rejected Trump’s claim that state election officials don’t have the authority to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The judge noted that the clause “clearly gives Congress the ability to remove a constitutional disability should a person be disqualified” under the provision, but that it “says nothing regarding what government body would adjudicate or determine such disability in the first instance.”

“The Court notes, however, it would be strange for Congress to be the only entity that is empowered to determine the disability and then also the entity that is empowered to remove it,” Wallace wrote.

Wallace said “states can, and have, applied Section 3 pursuant to state statutes without federal enforcement legislation.”

Wallace’s ruling followed a decision by Chief U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer to dismiss Trump’s request to move the Colorado ballot case to federal court. In a four-page order, Brimmer, a George W. Bush nominee, said Trump did not properly serve Colorado’s Democratic Secretary of State, Jena Griswold, or obtain her approval to move the case to federal court, making Trump’s bid to move the case “defective.”

Trump is also facing other challenges on his eligibility to appear on the 2024 presidential ballot. Arguments before the Minnesota Supreme Court in a lawsuit to boot Trump off the ballot in the state, which also cites the little known provision in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, are set to begin Thursday. Similar legal challenges are underway in New HampshireArizona and Michigan.

Trump, who continues to falsely insist that he won the 2020 election, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in his efforts to overturn the results as well as his role in the Capitol attack. He called the lawsuit in Colorado to remove him from the ballot under the 14th Amendment “nonsense” and “election interference.”

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