Trial begins on whether to exclude Trump from the 2024 Colorado ballot

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Politics / Monday, 30 October 2023 15:03

On Monday, a Denver court will hear arguments in a lawsuit seeking to prevent former President Donald Trump from participating in Colorado's 2024 vote over his role in the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack.

The legal process commenced after Colorado State Judge Sarah Wallace last week rejected Trump's latest attempt to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of six voters in Denver District Court last month.

The lawsuit argues that Trump should be barred from running in future elections, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that no one can hold office if they "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" after taking an oath to support and defend the Constitution. The lawsuit contends that Trump violated his oath by attempting to overturn the 2020 election, which led to the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

The suit was filed by the organization "Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington" and several law firms on behalf of six Republican and independent voters.

In her ruling last week, Wallace rejected Trump's argument that Congress, not the courts, has the authority to decide questions of eligibility. She also dismissed Trump's claim that state election officials lack the authority to enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The judge noted that this provision "clearly gives Congress the ability to remove constitutional disabilities" but "says nothing about which state body will make the determination or enforce such a disability in the first instance."

"However, it would be odd if Congress were the sole body empowered to determine disability as well as the body empowered to remove it," Wallace wrote.

She said that "states may apply and have applied Section 3 in accordance with their state laws without federal judicial enforcement."

Wallace's decision followed a ruling by U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer, a George W. Bush-appointed candidate, who declined Trump's request to transfer the case to federal court. In a four-page order, Brimmer stated that Trump had failed to properly serve Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and received her approval to transfer the case as "defective."

Trump also faces other challenges related to his eligibility to run in the 2024 presidential election. Legal disputes in Minnesota over a lawsuit seeking to exclude Trump from the state's ballots, citing the little-known provision of the 14th Amendment, are set to begin on Thursday. Similar legal battles are underway in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Michigan.

Trump, who continues to falsely claim victory in the 2020 election, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in his efforts to overturn the election results and his role in the Capitol attack. He dismissed the Colorado lawsuit over his exclusion from the ballots under the 14th Amendment as "nonsense" and "election interference."