The Colorado Republican Party is taking its fight to the highest court in the land, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that excluded former President Donald Trump from Colorado’s 2024 ballot.
In a recent 4-3 decision, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that initially allowed Trump to appear on the ballot as a presidential candidate. The lower court’s decision had argued that a president should not be subject to disqualification on a ballot.
The Colorado GOP, in a bid to preserve its right to include Trump on its March primary ballot, has lodged an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. While Trump has not yet filed his appeal, it is expected to follow shortly.
The appeal effectively extends the pause on the state court’s ruling, which was set to expire on January 4. This extension will remain in place until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to accept the case and, if it does, until a final decision is reached.
The case revolves around three primary arguments:
14th Amendment Disqualification: The appeal questions whether the president falls under the officials subject to disqualification by Section Three of the 14th Amendment, often referred to as the “insurrection clause.”
Self-Executing Clause: It explores whether Section Three is “self-executing,” granting states the authority to remove candidates from a ballot without requiring congressional action.
First Amendment Right of Association: The party contends that excluding Trump infringes upon their First Amendment Right of Association, as it denies them the ability to choose their preferred candidate in a presidential primary and general election.
The heart of the matter lies in whether state courts and election officials can wield legal authority to enforce Section Three of the 14th Amendment, as the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled.
The Colorado GOP argues that this ruling sets a dangerous precedent, paving the way for other states to follow suit and exclude Trump from their ballots. Currently, disqualification lawsuits related to Trump’s candidacy are pending in 13 states, including Texas, Nevada, and Wisconsin.
The Michigan Supreme Court recently rejected a similar 14th Amendment lawsuit, allowing Trump to remain on the state’s 2024 Republican primary ballot. This creates a significant national challenge that places the Colorado appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court to provide guidance on this constitutional matter.
With critical deadlines approaching, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision will carry significant weight. Colorado election officials are obligated by law to certify the list of candidates for the GOP primary ballot by January 5, with the primary scheduled for March 5.
In its December 19 ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court argued that Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, amounted to incitement and encouragement of violence, disqualifying him under the 14th Amendment. Furthermore, the court maintained that removing Trump from the ballot did not infringe upon the Colorado GOP’s First Amendment right to political association.
This legal battle, initiated by a group of Republican and independent voters in coordination with a government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, highlights the evolving dynamics of presidential candidacy and the interpretation of constitutional provisions.
As the Colorado GOP seeks to challenge this ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court, it sets the stage for a pivotal legal battle with far-reaching implications for Trump’s potential candidacy and the broader landscape of presidential elections.