Trump on Jan. 6

Then-U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to supporters near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

Colorado Supreme Court Disqualifies 'Insurrectionist' Trump from 2024 Ballot

"Trump is disqualified from holding the office of president," the state's highest court found, citing his role in fomenting the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Colorado's Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that former U.S. President Donald Trump—the 2024 Republican presidential front-runner—is barred from holding future office under the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause due to his incitement of the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack.

In a decision likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Colorado justices ruled 4-3 that Trump's effort to thwart the peaceful transition of presidential power for the first time in the nation's history rendered him constitutionally ineligible to hold elected office.

The majority found that a state court "did not err in concluding that President Trump engaged in... insurrection through his personal action" before and on January 6.

Enacted after the Civil War, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment bars from public office any "officer of the United States" who takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and subsequently participates in an insurrection or rebellion against the U.S. government.

"President Trump asks us to hold that Section 3 disqualifies every oath-breaking insurrectionist except the most powerful one and that it bars oath-breakers from virtually every office, both state and federal, except the highest one in the land," the court said.

"The sum of these parts is this: President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of president... because he is disqualified, it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code for the [secretary of state] to list him as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot," the ruling states.

"We do not reach these conclusions lightly," the court stressed. "We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.

Last month, Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace ruled that Trump "engaged in insurrection" but allowed him to remain on the state's 2024 presidential ballot because she determined he was not "an officer of the United States," and therefore could not be proscribed from holding office under the insurrection clause.

This, despite Wallace citing examples in her ruling of times when the president has been considered an "officer of the United States."

The pro-democracy group Free Speech for People said in a statement that "this is a victory for the principle that a president who loses his reelection bid must step down peacefully, not launch a bloody insurrection to intimidate Congress, disrupt the electoral count, and remain in power after his term ends."

Noah Bookbinder, president of the government accountability watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a statement that "the court's decision today affirms what our clients alleged in this lawsuit: that Donald Trump is an insurrectionist who disqualified himself from office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment based on his role in the January 6th attack on the Capitol, and that [Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold] must keep him off of Colorado's primary ballot."

"It is not only historic and justified," he added, "but is necessary to protect the future of democracy in our country."

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