Colorado 14th Amendment case can move forward, judge rules: Donald Trump’s lawyers requested that the case pushing for his disqualification be thrown out, but the judge disagreed Thursday.
Donald Trump Needs to Worry
A hearing is currently underway in Colorado, with a liberal group and several Republican voters suing to toss former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot. This week, Trump’s lawyers asked for the case to be thrown out, but a judge rejected that request.
The judge, Sarah B. Wallace, said that she was not going to rule at that point on “significant legal issues, many of which have never been decided by any court,” per the New York Times.
Therefore, the trial will continue, with a ruling possible on Friday. The plaintiffs finished presenting their case on Wednesday, with Trump’s lawyers launching their own case. Trump advisers Kash Patel and Katrina Pierson both testified on Thursday.
“During Reconstruction, ‘engage in insurrection’ was understood broadly to include any voluntary act in furtherance of an insurrection against the Constitution, including words of incitement,” Indiana University law professor Gerard Magliocca testified in the Colorado hearing Thursday, CNN reported.
The case alleges that Trump is responsible for “engaging in insurrection,” which according to an interpretation of Section Three of the 14th Amendment, would make him ineligible to run for office.
Per the Times, “Judge Wallace emphasized that her decision to reject the request was not a ruling on which side was right but, rather, a recognition that the questions — including the relative weights of the First and 14th Amendments — were tricky. She noted that the two sides had presented legal precedents for opposing claims.”
However the case is decided, appeals are likely.
A hearing in a similar case in Minnesota got underway on Thursday, with plaintiffs including a Republican-appointed former state Supreme Court justice, and former Democratic secretary of state.
In the Colorado hearing on Thursday, Pierson testified that she worked to exclude the participation of conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and Ali Alexander in the January 6 rally, since they were “known for being over-the-top in their rhetoric, whether it be conspiracy or outright chaos.”
In an interview with MSNBC this week, retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig talked about why he believes Trump should be disqualified from the 2024 ballot on 14th Amendment grounds.
“It’s more than just a proscription and disqualification for anti-democratic conduct by an individual, but, in this circumstance, it is that and it would apply in this instance to disqualify the former president from holding the presidency again, because of his effort, plan and attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, knowing that he had lost that election to then-candidate Joe Biden,” Luttig said in the interview.
“Section 3 disqualifies one who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution of the United States, not an insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or the authority of the United States. And so that’s the issue in Colorado and in Minnesota, and in the other states that are currently involved in the constitutional process to determine whether the former president is disqualified.”
Luttig also predicted, as most legal observers have, that the case will likely end up decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This is the process contemplated by the Constitution. And the Constitution likewise contemplates that this decision will ultimately be entrusted to the Supreme Court of the United States, which will interpret the language, the clear language, of Section 3, and decide whether or not the former president is disqualified,” Luttig said.
How does he think the Court will decide in the case?
“I would only say this: All that any of us are able to do is evaluate the positive, objective law — in this instance, the Constitution and Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Under the plain, clear terms of Section 3, the former president would be disqualified from holding the presidency again — specifically, for the reason that his plan and effort and attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election and remain in power, notwithstanding that the American people had voted to confer the powers of the presidency on Joe Biden, constitutes a clear violation of the Executive Vesting Clause in the Constitution, which prescribes that a president will hold office for only a four-year term, unless and until he is re-elected to the presidency by the American people.”
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.
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