In a shocking move that will likely end up before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Colorado Supreme Court just removed former president and likely 2024 GOP candidate Donald Trump from the ballot in Colorado, alleging that the events of January 6, 2021 make him ineligible to run thanks to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
That argument has long been maintained by those of Trump’s enemies who are attempting to keep him from running by alleging that he launched an “insurrection” on January 6th, though the former president has not yet been convicted of any crime from that day, and so is ineligible to run for president.
The headnote summary to the case provides that “In this appeal from a district court proceeding under the Colorado Election Code, the supreme court considers whether former President Donald J. Trump may appear on the Colorado Republican presidential primary ballot in 2024. A majority of the court holds that President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Because 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 court stays its ruling until January 4, 2024, subject to any further appellate proceedings.”
As can be seen in the headnote, the court’s justification for the former president’s removal is Section 3 of Amendment 14 to the United States Constitution, an Amendment passed in the wake of the US Civil War and meant to exclude the ranking Confederates from the government.
It provides (emphasis added), “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
Making that point in the case, the justices noted that the plaintiffs in the case “asserted that he was ineligible under Section Three because he engaged in insurrection on January 6, 2021, after swearing an oath as President to support the U.S. Constitution” and that “The court found by clear and convincing evidence that President Trump engaged in insurrection as those terms are used in Section Three.”
Then, after claiming that the lower court was not incorrect in finding that Trump engaged in insurrection on January 6, the Colorado Supreme Court held, “The sum of these parts is this: President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three; because he is disqualified, it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code for the Secretary to list him as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot.”
The court stayed its ruling until January 4 of 2024 so that the United States Supreme Court has the opportunity to hear the case and rule on it, but if its opinion is not struck down by the court before then, it will go into effect and Trump will be removed from the ballot.
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