On Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme Court made an extraordinary decision to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot for the 2024 US election. The ruling cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits individuals engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” from holding federal office. Here is an overview of the decision and its potential impact.
Ruling Basis: The majority of the Colorado Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, relied on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, asserting that Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, during the Capitol attack constituted insurrection, thus disqualifying him from appearing on the state’s ballot.
U.S. Supreme Court Review: The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling is paused pending review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump has expressed his intention to immediately seek Supreme Court review.
Legal Complexity of Section 3: Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, enacted after the Civil War, has rarely been tested in legal challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court, with a conservative majority, including three Trump appointees, will need to decide on the legal interpretation of this provision.
Due Process Concerns: The dissenting justices raised due process concerns, highlighting that the majority’s ruling could strip Trump of fundamental rights without sufficient due process. They emphasized the absence of a criminal conviction and limitations on Trump’s rights in the case.
Trump’s Response: Trump’s campaign criticized the decision as “undemocratic” and declared its intention to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump and his allies have portrayed disqualification cases as part of a conspiracy by political rivals.
Election Impact: Colorado, a Democratic-leaning state, has nine electoral votes and is not considered a crucial state for Trump to win. Even if the ruling stands, its impact on the 2024 election outcome may be limited. However, similar lawsuits in competitive states could emerge.
Status of Other Cases: More than 12 states have faced lawsuits seeking to block Trump from the ballot. Some cases have been dismissed on procedural and jurisdictional grounds, emphasizing that courts may not unilaterally disqualify candidates from ballots.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot introduces legal complexities and raises questions about the interpretation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. As the case awaits review by the U.S. Supreme Court, its outcome and potential implications for other states remain uncertain.