Trump appeals Colorado Supreme Court decision to remove him from primary ballot News
"Donald Trump" - Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0
Trump appeals Colorado Supreme Court decision to remove him from primary ballot

Former President Donald Trump filed an appeal Wednesday asking the US Supreme Court to reverse the Colorado Supreme Court decision barring him from the state’s ballot. The original decision will now be on hold until the US Supreme Court rules on the appeal.

The Colorado Supreme Court barred Trump from appearing on the state’s primary ballot last month, saying he is disqualified from holding office under Section 3 of the US Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. Section 3 states that anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same [the US Constitution], or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” is disqualified from holding elected office. The court said that this applies to Trump because he engaged in insurrection following the 2020 election, culminating in the January 6 attacks on the US Capitol, and that Section 3 applies to the President because it is an office of the United States that includes an oath to protect the Constitution.

Trump contends that the Colorado Supreme Court made the wrong decision, pointing out his status as the leading Republican candidate for president and saying that “in our system of ‘government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people,’ Colorado’s ruling is not and cannot be correct.” His legal argument has four parts: that Congress is the one with authority to determinate qualifications and the Colorado Supreme Court “arrogated” this authority; that the president is not an “office of the United States” as described in Section 3 because they take a different oath; that his actions leading up to and on January 6 should not be described as insurrection; and that the Colorado proceedings were premature.

Trump also referenced arguments made by the Colorado Republican State Central Committee in their own Supreme Court filing about First Amendment rights to free association. He asked the court to overrule the Colorado decision and “return the right to vote for their candidate of choice to the voters.”

The Colorado case came after a group of Republican and non-affiliated voters asked the state to block Trump from appearing on the ballot. Voters in at least 31 states have filed similar challenges. Those challenges have seen mixed results: the Maine Secretary of State joined Colorado in blocking Trump’s ballot access, while the California Secretary of State said she would not remove Trump and the Michigan Supreme Court declined to rule on Trump’s eligibility. Trump also appealed the Maine decision.

The question of Trump’s eligibility for office following January 6 is taking center stage as the US enters a presidential election year and amid Trump’s numerous legal battles, including an indictment related to his 2020 election interference. Although the question falls largely along partisan lines, some liberal critics oppose Trump’s removal from the ballot and some conservative legal scholars support it. The proceedings have heightened tensions in an already divided country: following the Colorado ruling, the FBI investigated threats to the state Supreme Court, and a man was arrested for allegedly breaking into the court’s building and opening fire. Similarly, the Maine Secretary of State was targeted with a swatting call after her decision to remove Trump from the state’s ballot.