A Colorado Judge Finds Trump Engaged in Insurrection, But Can’t Keep Him off State’s Primary Ballot
In a recent ruling, a Colorado judge determined that former President Donald Trump was involved in insurrection during the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. However, the judge rejected an attempt to prevent him from appearing on the state’s primary ballot. The lawsuit was brought by a left-leaning group on behalf of Republican and independent Colorado voters. They argued that Trump’s actions violated a clause in the 14th Amendment that bars individuals who engage in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution from holding public office.
This ruling, made by District Judge Sarah B. Wallace, is the third decision within a short period of time that has rejected attempts to remove Trump from the ballot by invoking Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The Minnesota Supreme Court and a Michigan judge have also ruled in favor of Trump’s eligibility to appear on the primary ballot, stating that political parties have the authority to select their candidates.
Section 3 and its Application to Presidential Candidates
Judge Wallace acknowledged that Trump did engage in insurrection on January 6 and dismissed the argument made by his attorneys that he was exercising free speech. However, she stated that she couldn’t disqualify him as a presidential candidate based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Unlike its reference to members of Congress, Section 3 does not explicitly mention the presidency. It refers to “elector of President and Vice President” as well as civil and military offices. Wallace expressed reluctance to interpret the section in a way that would disqualify a presidential candidate without clear and unambiguous intent.
A Controversial Decision with Potential Appeals
Trump’s campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, criticized the ruling, referring to it as another attempt by Democrats to interfere with the presidential election. The group that filed the lawsuit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, stated that they would appeal the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court. Attorney Mario Nicolais, representing the voters who brought the lawsuit, expressed satisfaction with the ruling and expressed hope that the Colorado Supreme Court would address the question of whether Section 3 applies to insurrectionist presidents.
Potential Supreme Court Involvement
Regardless of the outcome in the Colorado case, it is expected that the issue will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The Michigan case, brought by the group Free Speech for People, has already been appealed in state court. Legal experts believe it is significant that Judge Wallace found Trump to be engaged in insurrection, and there is a possibility that a court on appeal may bar him from the ballot.
Trump’s Defense and Ambiguity in Section 3
Trump’s attorneys argued that he was exercising his First Amendment rights on January 6 and that Section 3 was not intended to apply to presidential candidates. They also emphasized that disqualifying a candidate should not be left to the interpretation of a single judge based on a clause that has rarely been used in the past. The petitioners, on the other hand, maintained that Section 3 is clear in its language and was originally intended to prevent former Confederates from holding public office after the Civil War.
Historical Context and Interpretation of Section 3
Legal historians have noted that Section 3 fell out of use after Congress granted amnesty to most former Confederates in 1872. The attack on the Capitol prompted a revival of interest in the provision. Judge Wallace based her decision on records from the debate over the 14th Amendment, which date back 150 years. While there is limited direct evidence regarding the amendment’s application to the presidency, there were discussions suggesting that it would prevent former Confederate President Jefferson Davis from becoming president of the United States. The interpretation of the phrase “officers of the United States” also played a role in the case.
All in all, the recent cases against Trump highlight a renewed focus on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which has long been overlooked. As it gains attention, it is likely that the U.S. Supreme Court will be called upon to provide clarity on the matter.
Read More of this Story at www.nbcnewyork.com – 2023-11-18 03:45:26
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