A Colorado district court judge ruled Friday that Donald Trump must be placed on the ballot in the 2024 presidential contest.
Judge Sarah Wallace, appointed in 2022 by Democrat Gov. Jared Polis, ruled that Trump did engage in insurrection on January 6, 2021, but was not an officer of the United States as defined by the Fourteenth Amendment.
The lawsuit cited the Fourteenth Amendment’s “,” which bans those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding federal office, as justification for booting Trump from the ballot.
Trump’s attorneys had claimed he never “engaged in insurrection” and that his questioning of the 2020 election results is political speech protected by the First Amendment.
“Trump’s comments did not come close to ‘incitement,’ let alone ‘engagement’ in an insurrection,” they wrote.
Yet she looked more favorably upon Trump’s team’s argument that the amendment does not apply to the office of the president. The text of the amendment specifies “Senator or Representative in Congress” and “elector of President and Vice President” but not “President.”
Trump has not been convicted of insurrection and was acquitted by the U.S. Senate of charges of engaging in insurrection and continues to deny wrongdoing.
Wallace previously denied a motion by Trump’s legal team that she step aside due to her past donation to a liberal group working to keep Trump off the ballot — the very thing her ruling Friday accomplished — along with donations to many Democrat candidates for office. She had also previously denied a motion by Trump and the Colorado GOP to throw the case out.
Trump continues to face legal challenges in numerous states across the country, but has had a string of favorable rulings.
A federal court in New Hampshire recently dismissed a similar case, ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment claim is a “nonjusticiable political question.” A Minnesota state court recently dismissed a lawsuit aiming to keep Trump off that state’s primary ballot. And a Michigan Court of Claims judge ruled that the Secretary of State must list Trump on the ballot as well.
An appeal is likely. The Colorado case, or another similar case in another state, could likely land before the Supreme Court, which has never before ruled on the Civil War-era amendment.
Steven Cheung, Trump spokesperson, responded with the Trump Campaign Statement on the legal victory in Colorado:
“We applaud today’s ruling in Colorado, which is another nail in the coffin of the un-American ballot challenges. With this decision, Democrats’ 14th Amendment challenges have now been defeated in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and New Hampshire. These cases represent the most cynical and blatant political attempts to interfere with the upcoming presidential election by desperate Democrats who know Crooked Joe Biden is a failed president on the fast track to defeat. The American voter has a Constitutional right to vote for the candidate of their choosing, with President Donald J. Trump leading by massive numbers. This right was correctly preserved in Colorado today and we urge the swift disposal of any and all remaining Democrat ballot challenges. Onward to total victory 2024, we will Make America Great Again!”
The case is Anderson v. Griswold, No. 2023CV32577, in district court for the city and county of Denver.