A Colorado state judge handed former President Donald Trump his first defeat in the drive to bar the former president from the ballot.
Trump filed a declaration of intent to appear on the ballot in the state on Oct. 11. Judge Sarah B. Wallace, an appointee of the state’s Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, quashed efforts by Trump’s attorneys to get a lawsuit brought on behalf of six Colorado voters tossed. The suit seeks to disqualify the former president under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which bars those who participated in an insurrection from holding public office.
Plaintiffs Claim Trump Led an Insurrection
The plaintiffs contend, based on legal theories advanced by Democratic and Never-Trump Republican jurists, that Trump disqualified himself by giving aid and comfort to an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. This is despite the fact no legal authority has declared that an insurrection took place.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is representing the plaintiffs in the case.
“Donald Trump tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election,” the lawsuit, filed in early September, says. “His efforts culminated on January 6, 2021, when he incited, exacerbated, and otherwise engaged in a violent insurrection at the United States Capitol by a mob who believed they were following his orders, and refused to protect the Capitol or call off the mob for nearly three hours as the attack unfolded.”
Activists have brought similar cases in federal court that have been quashed due to lack of standing. New Hampshire’s secretary of State and Michigan’s secretary of State decided against dropping Trump’s name.
“The Court does not know how often or under what bases. These are issues that should be addressed at trial. To be clear, the Court is not affirmatively holding the Fourteenth Amendment can be used to exclude a presidential candidate from the primary ballot, or that the Secretary of State is empowered to evaluate such a question,” Wallace wrote in her 24-page ruling. “The Court is merely holding that it is unable to conclude as a matter of law that to the extent the Fourteenth Amendment applies to prevent ballot access for a Presidential primary candidate, the Secretary of State has no authority to investigate and exclude a candidate on that basis.”
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, is on record saying on X that she believes Trump incited an insurrection.
Judge Implies Trump Could Be Disqualified
Wallace seemed to imply that the 14th Amendment could prevent Trump from appearing on the ballot when she claimed that the Republican Party’s candidate choice did not preclude Griswold from keeping Trump’s name off the ballot.
“’urther, the United States Supreme Court has made it clear that a Party’s right to put a candidate on the ballot is not unfettered,’ Here, Colorado’s ‘legitimate interest in protecting the integrity and practical functioning of the political process permits it to exclude from the ballot candidates who are constitutionally prohibited from assuming office.’”
Chief U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer denied Trump’s petition to move the case to federal court.
This ruling clears the way for a trial over Trump’s eligibility, which could have shockwaves across the country and embolden Democratic officials in other states to drop Trump from the ballot.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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