Colorado Supreme Court A majority of the court concluded that the evidence showed President Trump was disqualified from office for his participation in the riot, but opponents criticized

The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday took the unprecedented step of disqualifying Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential election and declaring him constitutionally unfit to serve as president in the future. The Trump campaign announced that it will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The unsigned December 19 opinion does not provide any substantive information regarding Trump’s or any other person’s eligibility to win in light of allegations that President Trump participated in the January 6, 2021 presidential candidate’s insurrection. This is the first state Supreme Court decision to directly address this argument. and .


“We do not draw these conclusions lightly. We recognize the magnitude and gravity of the problems that now lie before us. We also do not allow fear or We also recognize that we have a solemn obligation to apply the law without favoritism or influence from the masses,

the majority, who were responsible for the deadly mob attack on January 6th. It determined that there was sufficient evidence to classify the election as an insurrection and that it would be “almost difficult” to conclude that President Trump’s own actions to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory were directly related to the insurrection. .

Three justices dissented: Chief Justice Brian D. Boatwright and Judges Carlos A. Samour Jr. and Maria E. Berkenkotter. Both men opposed the eligibility challenge process and did not dispute the substantive findings regarding whether Trump’s actions amounted to insurrectionary and disqualifying conduct.

The court deferred its decision for possible appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

The first decision on the merits

Colorado Supreme Court Challenges to President Trump’s eligibility have moved rapidly through the courts since being filed in September, giving Secretary of State Jenna Griswold a deadline of January 5, 2024, to certify candidates for next year’s primaries. It becomes. There were four plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit. The Republican and two independent electors argued that Trump cannot serve as president again under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, ratified after the Civil War.

Article III disqualifies, among other things, senators, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and “officers of the United States” from holding future federal or state office if they take an oath of support for the Constitution and then engage in “insurrection.” It is a deprivation.

Other courts have only scratched the surface of the issue and ultimately dismissed the challenge without addressing the issue. Denver District Court Judge Sarah B. Wallace issued a detailed order that said Trump incited an insurrection by inciting his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and that Colorado courts have the power to determine the president’s qualifications. declared.

Ultimately, she refused to remove Trump from the election. After five days of hearings with extensive historical evidence, Wallace was unconvinced that the ratifiers of Article III intended it to apply to the presidency.

Both appellants and Mr. Trump appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court. Secretary of State Griswold, a Democrat, did not publicly comment on Trump’s continued eligibility.

“If we say this person’s actions are not good enough under the Constitution, we will call on Mr. Trump and others to use further political violence to attack our democracy.” “It gives them the power to Month.

Majority says courts can remove rebels

Colorado Supreme Court The court’s majority opinion rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that he could not adequately defend the plaintiffs’ claims given the expedited nature of the election process. It also distinguishes Colorado’s law from those of other states, saying that constitutional challenges to Trump’s eligibility fit neatly into the state’s election code, as do questions about a candidate’s age and citizenship. I also agreed that it would.

Importantly, the majority did not need to pass legislation to enforce the disqualification clause, just as Congress did not need to act to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment’s anti-slavery prohibition. I concluded that no.

Colorado Supreme Court rules

“The consequences of such inaction would mean that slavery would remain legal; black citizens would be counted as less than full citizens during redistricting; nonwhite male voters would be counted as less than full citizens; may be stripped of their rights, and those who rebel against the government may still not be able to serve in the government,” the majority wrote.

When Wallace erroneously concluded that the presidency was not subject to the Article III exemption, the majority held that the presidency was “clearly an ‘office,” both in the literal sense of the word and as understood by the ratifiers. ” in the 19th century.
“Under Article 3, President Trump disqualifies all but the most powerful oath-breakers from participating in the insurrection and bars them from virtually all offices, both state and federal. The majority concludes that “this is inconsistent with the clear language and history of Section 3” in both studies.

Finally, the majority ruled that the evidence showed President Trump’s “full intent” to overturn the certification of his election and support efforts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. did. Under existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, Trump’s calls to action against his supporters were not protected by the First Amendment.

All three dissents question the appropriateness of using Colorado’s election procedures to address the serious issue of disqualifying a former president for insurrection.

Boatwright criticized the decision to challenge Trump’s eligibility under the “breakneck pace” of Colorado’s expedited voting protocols, arguing that the district court’s process did not even adhere to strict deadlines. He suggested that Mr. Trump was not given due process and, like Mr. Boatwright, argued that expedited litigation inherently works against Mr. Trump.


Mr. Samour went further, calling the Wallace hearings a “procedural Frankenstein.” He believed that only Congress could authorize enforcement of the disqualification clause of Article III.

“There was also no fair trial,” he wrote. “I’ve been in the justice system for 33 years now, and what happened here is unlike anything I’ve seen in a courtroom.”

By contrast, Berkenkotter believed that Trump’s Title III eligibility could be litigated in state court. However, she did not believe that existing protocols could handle this situation.

“Three days to appeal a district court order challenging a candidate’s age? Indeed,” she wrote. “But the question is whether the former president committed an insurrection by inciting a mob to invade the Capitol and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.” I’m not sure that was what the General Assembly had in mind.”

Trump campaign spokesman Stephen Chan said he was confident the U.S. Supreme Court would rule in favor of the former president. Ta.

The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled thatwe made a completely flawed decision tonight, and we will appeal it immediately.”