In a historic move, the Colorado Supreme Court, comprised entirely of justices appointed by Democratic governors, ruled on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump is ineligible for the White House under the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause. This decision marks the first instance in history where Section 3 of the 14th Amendment has been invoked to disqualify a presidential candidate, setting the stage for a potential legal showdown in the nation’s highest court.
The 4-3 decision overturned a previous ruling by a district court judge, who acknowledged Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack but deemed it unclear whether the provision was intended to cover presidential candidacy.
- The 4-3 decision was handed down by the Colorado Supreme Court, whose justices were appointed by Democratic governors.
- This is the first time in history that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment has been utilized to disqualify a presidential candidate.
- Trump’s legal team has vowed to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, making it the final arbiter on the matter.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision has temporarily stayed its impact until January 4 or until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the case. Colorado officials emphasize the urgency of settling the matter by January 5, the deadline for the state to finalize its presidential primary ballots.
“We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” stated the court’s majority. “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.”
Trump’s legal representatives swiftly announced their intention to appeal any disqualification to the U.S. Supreme Court, which holds ultimate authority on constitutional matters. Alina Habba, Trump’s legal spokeswoman, condemned the ruling, asserting, “This ruling, issued by the Colorado Supreme Court, attacks the very heart of this nation’s democracy. It will not stand, and we trust that the Supreme Court will reverse this unconstitutional order.”
Despite not needing Colorado to secure victory in the 2024 presidential election, Trump faces the risk that other states may follow Colorado’s lead, potentially excluding him from crucial battlegrounds. The Republican National Committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, denounced the decision as “Election interference” and pledged the RNC’s legal team’s support in challenging the ruling.