The group trying to remove Donald Trump from the Colorado ballot based on the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban” has filed an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court, hoping to overturn a lower-court ruling that said the ban doesn’t apply to presidents.
It was widely anticipated that the Republican and independent voters, who coordinated with a leftist watchdog group to bring the complaint, would seek an appeal. Numerous analysts predict that the case will ultimately make its way to the US Supreme Court.
Colorado District Court Judge Sarah Wallace issued a stunning 102-page decision Friday that found Trump “engaged in an insurrection” on January 6, 2021, but concluded that the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban” doesn’t apply to presidents, based on the text of the amendment, which was ratified in 1868 in the wake of the Civil War.
It says American officials who take an oath to support the Constitution are banned from future office if they “engage in insurrection.” The provision explicitly bans insurrectionists from serving as US senators, representatives, and even presidential electors, but it does not say anything about the presidency. It says it covers “any office, civil or military, under the United States,” and Wallace ruled that this does not include the office of the presidency.
The anti-Trump challengers are hoping that the Colorado Supreme Court will reverse that crucial ruling.
“No court should adopt an interpretation of the Constitution that has such absurd results,” the challengers wrote in their appeal filing. “Fortunately, in this case, the text and history all comport with the common-sense outcome. Section 3 does not disqualify oath-breaking insurrectionists from nearly all public offices except the highest one, nor does it give a unique free pass to insurrectionist Presidents.”
The Democratic governors of Colorado appointed each of the seven justices to the court. Following that, six of the seven won statewide retention elections, securing their seats on the bench. The seventh has not yet been put to a vote; he was only appointed in 2021.
Sean Grimsley, an attorney for the anti-Trump challengers, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday that he was “hopeful” his appeal will prevail in overturning the “one issue” that the judge “got wrong” about who the ban does and doesn’t apply to.
“We’re going to pursue our claims in court. I think we put on a very good case, the judge issued a very detailed and thorough opinion – it took until page 95 of a 102-page opinion for her to rule against us on anything, so we’re just going to continue forward. We’re going to go to the Colorado Supreme Court and see what happens there.”
In other portions of Wallace’s ruling, she offered a searing condemnation of Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. She concluded that the former president “actively primed the anger of his extremist supporters” and “acted with the specific intent to incite political violence and direct it at the Capitol.”
Trump has prevailed in similar constitutional challenges in several states, including Michigan and Minnesota, though other appeals are underway.
“It was an outrageous attempt at disenfranchising millions and millions of voters by getting us thrown off the ballot,” Trump said Saturday at a campaign rally in Iowa. “We’ve now beat the radical Democrats’ election-rigging ballot qualification scam in Colorado and Michigan and Minnesota and New Hampshire and other states.”