In a recent ruling, a Colorado judge, Sarah Wallace, determined that former President Donald Trump "engaged in an insurrection" on January 6, 2021. However, the judge rejected an attempt to remove him from the state's 2024 primary ballot, stating that the 14th Amendment's "insurrectionist ban" does not apply to presidents [[SOURCE 1]].
The Ruling and its Implications
Judge Wallace's decision comes after similar challenges against Trump in Minnesota and Michigan also failed to remove him from their respective Republican primary ballots. While the ruling does not disqualify Trump from running in the primary, it does provide a scathing condemnation of his conduct, labeling him as an insurrectionist who actively incited political violence [[SOURCE 1]].
The 14th Amendment, ratified after the Civil War, prohibits American officials who engage in insurrection from holding future office. However, the amendment does not specify how to enforce this ban, and it has only been applied twice since 1919. The provision explicitly bans insurrectionists from serving as US senators, representatives, and presidential electors, but it does not mention presidents. Judge Wallace ruled that the office of the presidency is not included in the ban, as the drafters of Section Three did not intend to include a person who had only taken the Presidential Oath [[SOURCE 1]].
Legal Perspectives and Potential Appeals
Legal scholars believe that these cases will likely reach the US Supreme Court in some form. However, before that, the challengers who filed the Colorado lawsuit, along with a liberal watchdog group, may first file an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court. It remains to be seen how the higher courts will interpret the 14th Amendment's insurrectionist ban and its application to presidential eligibility [[SOURCE 1]].
Political and Legal Ramifications
While the ruling allows Trump to remain on the Colorado primary ballot, it does not absolve him of the severe criticism leveled against his conduct. The judge's ruling acknowledges Trump's role in inciting the anger of his extremist supporters and his intent to disrupt the Electoral College certification of President Biden's electoral victory. These findings may have political and legal implications beyond the primary ballot eligibility, as Trump faces state and federal criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election [[SOURCE 1]].
In summary, the recent ruling by a Colorado judge determined that Donald Trump engaged in an insurrection on January 6, 2021. However, the judge rejected an attempt to remove him from the state's 2024 primary ballot, citing that the 14th Amendment's insurrectionist ban does not apply to presidents. While this ruling allows Trump to remain on the ballot, it does not absolve him of the scathing condemnation of his conduct. The legal battle surrounding Trump's eligibility and the interpretation of the 14th Amendment's insurrectionist ban is likely to continue, with potential appeals to higher courts in the future [[SOURCE 1]].