Former President Appeals to Supreme Court in Bid to Reverse Colorado Disqualification

48_-Cover-Image-1Donald Trump is taking the fight for his place on Colorado’s Republican primary ballot to the highest court in the land, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a decision that disqualified him based on his actions surrounding the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack. The legal battle is poised to be politically explosive, with oral arguments scheduled for February 8 and potential ramifications for Trump’s pursuit of the 2024 presidential nomination.

Trump’s legal team presented a robust case against the Colorado Supreme Court’s December 19 ruling, invoking the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In court papers filed on Thursday, they called on the Supreme Court to swiftly and decisively put an end to what they termed as “ballot-disqualification efforts,” highlighting similar challenges in over 30 states.

Central to Trump’s argument is the assertion that the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause does not extend to presidents. His legal team contends that the question of presidential eligibility falls under the purview of Congress and that Trump, despite the controversies, did not participate in an insurrection. The legal brief aligns with an accelerated schedule set by the Supreme Court, given the impending March 5 date for Colorado’s Republican primary.

The case originated with six conservative Republican or independent voters in Colorado challenging Trump’s eligibility based on his actions leading up to the Capitol attack. The plaintiffs have until January 31 to respond to Trump’s filing. If successful, Trump would maintain his frontrunner status for the Republican nomination to face Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 U.S. election.48_-Image1Of particular significance is the application of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, known as the disqualification clause, which the Colorado ruling invoked. This marks the first instance where Section 3 has been used to find a presidential candidate ineligible. The clause prohibits any “officer of the United States” who engaged in insurrection or rebellion from holding office.

The outcome of this case could significantly impact broader efforts to disqualify Trump from state ballots under the 14th Amendment. A similar appeal is pending in Maine, where Trump challenges a decision barring him from the primary ballot based on the same constitutional provision. The Maine case is on hold until the Supreme Court renders its verdict in the Colorado matter.

The legal wrangling underscores the unprecedented nature of invoking the 14th Amendment in the aftermath of the Capitol attack, which was an attempt to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. The Supreme Court’s ruling may shape the trajectory of Trump’s political ambitions and sets the stage for a precedent in how the disqualification clause is applied to presidential candidates.

As the legal drama unfolds, Trump’s team faces the challenge of convincing the Supreme Court that his actions, despite the lower court’s findings, do not meet the legal definition of insurrection as outlined in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The battle over ballots becomes a critical chapter in the ongoing controversies surrounding the former president, adding another layer of complexity to the already tumultuous landscape of American politics.