The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump is disqualified from holding the presidency under the Constitution’s so-called insurrection clause.
The ruling orders that the secretary of state exclude Trump’s name from the 2024 presidential ballot, pending appeal.
In a 4-3 ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled for the first time in history that a civil war era provision can be used to remove a Presidential candidate from the ballot, and that Trump is not eligible to hold public office under the “insurrection clause” due to his conduct surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, CNN reported on Tuesday.
“We conclude that because President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three, it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code for the Secretary to list President Trump as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot,” the court’s majority wrote in an unsigned opinion. “Therefore, the Secretary may not list President Trump’s name on the 2024 presidential primary ballot, nor may she count any write-in votes cast for him.”
“President Trump asks us to hold that Section Three disqualifies every oathbreaking insurrectionist except the most powerful one and that it bars oath-breakers from virtually every office, both state and federal, except the highest one in the land,” the majority wrote. “Both results are inconsistent with the plain language and history of Section Three.”
The decision does pause the rulling until January 4th to allow Trump to appeal to the Supreme Court before officially removing his name from the state’s ballot, which is scheduled to hold their primary on Super Tuesday in early March. If the U.S. Supreme Court declines to take up the case, the Colorado Supreme Court ruling will stand and Trump’s name will not appear on the primary or general election ballots, CBS News reported on Tuesday.
“The Colorado Supreme Court issued a completely flawed decision tonight and we will swiftly file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court and a concurrent request for a stay of this deeply undemocratic decision,” Steve Cheung, spokesman for the Trump campaign, said in a statement. “We have full confidence that the U.S. Supreme Court will quickly rule in our favor and finally put an end to these unAmerican lawsuits.”
Many Constitutional lawyers, are not so sure that the “insurrection clause”, even if Trump were to be found guilty, would apply to a Presidential candidate.
Alan Dershowitz, former lawyer for Presidents Clinton and Trump stated that “The constitution simply does not permit this. There’s no procedure… it’s self-enforcing. In other words, any secretary of state, any governor, who doesn’t like a candidate can enforce – for example, the governor of Texas can suddenly decide that Joe Biden is an insurrectionist because of his failure to control the borders, and he can disqualify Joe Biden.”
“This will cause a constitutional crisis,” Dershowitz continued. “Look, the framers of the constitution took so much care, to make it so difficult to impeach a sitting president even if he has committed treason. You need two-thirds of the Senate to get rid of a president who has committed treason.”
“Do you think the framers of the 14th Amendment would have simply allowed any secretary of state, without any process, without any procedure, to simply say ‘no, we think President Trump has engaged in insurrection,’ even though no court has ever found that. And therefore, we’re gonna take him off our ballot and we’re going to create a constitutional crisis,” Dershowitz said.