Trump’s 14th Amendment Disqualification Trial: What’s Next?
Witness Testimony Concludes, Historic Ruling Expected Soon
Former President Donald Trump’s disqualification trial under the 14th Amendment wrapped up on Friday in Colorado, marking the end of witness testimony. The trial, which lasted for a week, featured various individuals providing testimony, including legal scholars, US Capitol Police officers, rally organizers, House lawmakers, and an expert on right-wing extremism. The closing arguments are scheduled for November 15, with a ruling expected shortly after that. This ruling has the potential to make history.
Understanding the 14th Amendment and Its Application
The 14th Amendment, ratified after the Civil War, prohibits US officials who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution from holding future office if they have “engaged in insurrection.” However, the Constitution does not provide guidance on how to enforce this ban, and it has only been applied twice since 1919. Due to this, many experts consider these challenges to be unlikely to succeed.
Denver District Court Judge Sarah Wallace and Her Complex Legal Questions
Denver District Court Judge Sarah Wallace, appointed by Colorado’s Democratic governor, will preside over the trial’s closing arguments on November 15 and issue a ruling soon after. Judge Wallace faces several intricate legal questions, including determining whether the events of January 6 qualify as an insurrection, whether Trump was personally involved in the insurrection, and whether the insurrectionist ban applies to presidents. Furthermore, she must decide if she has the authority to enforce the provision or if Congress needs to take action. Throughout the week, Judge Wallace has remained impartial, overruling objections from Trump’s lawyers during witness questioning.
During the trial, Judge Wallace challenged a legal scholar who suggested that Congress, rather than the courts, should decide on Trump’s eligibility for office. She emphasized the court’s responsibility to interpret the Constitution and questioned whether there were any previous cases that supported the scholar’s argument. In the absence of such examples, the judge’s skepticism was evident.
Appeals and the Role of the Colorado Supreme Court
Regardless of the trial’s outcome, it is expected that there will be an appeal. The trial is taking place under a special state law that allows for expedited proceedings, meaning any appeals will go directly to the Colorado Supreme Court. Notably, all seven justices on the Colorado Supreme Court are Democratic appointees. If necessary, the decision of the Colorado Supreme Court can be appealed to the US Supreme Court, where a conservative supermajority, including three justices appointed by Trump, holds sway.
The Connection between the Colorado Trial and the Federal Election Subversion Trial
The trial in Denver serves as a preview of a more high-profile federal trial scheduled for March, which focuses on election subversion. While the Colorado trial centers around Trump’s involvement in the January 6 events, the federal trial does not charge him with inciting the riot or insurrection. However, federal prosecutors may present evidence linking Trump’s actions to the violence on January 6. Trump’s defense in Colorado heavily relies on revisionism regarding January 6 and presents witnesses who still believe the 2020 election was stolen.
Challenging the Claim of Insurrection
Trump’s defense attorneys argue that the presence of witnesses who participated in the January 6 rally and did not engage in violence undermines the argument that the events constituted an insurrection. One rally organizer, Amy Kremer, testified that the crowd at the Ellipse was composed of patriotic citizens who remained peaceful even after Trump concluded his speech. However, the trial has also highlighted the accounts of police officers who were injured during the riot, demonstrating the violent nature of the events.
Key Figures and Their Perspectives
Tom Bjorklund, a Trump supporter who breached the Capitol grounds but did not enter the building, testified for Trump’s defense. He downplayed the severity of the events, stating that Republicans being upset about the election does not rise to the level of an insurrection.
Kash Patel, a former Pentagon official under the Trump administration, placed blame on Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser for the delayed National Guard response to the riot.
Additionally, Representative Ken Buck, who does not deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election, questioned the credibility of the January 6 committee due to its composition of Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans. The committee’s final report forms a significant basis for the challengers’ case and recommends Trump’s disqualification from future office under the 14th Amendment.
As the trial concludes and a ruling looms, legal experts are uncertain about the outcome. The court’s willingness to allow extensive evidence and its rejection of Trump’s attempts to dismiss the case indicate a favorable environment for the plaintiffs seeking to prevent Trump from re-entering the political arena.
Read More of this Story at www.cnn.com – 2023-11-03 22:50:00
Read More Latest News