Trump Petitions Supreme Court to Secure Spot on Colorado Primary Ballot

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 01/03/2024
Former President Donald Trump filed a petition with the Supreme Court on Wednesday, requesting that the nine-member court reverse a Colorado Supreme Court decision that, if upheld, would exclude him on the state's primary ballot.

On December 19, the Democratic-dominated Colorado Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that Trump did not meet the requirements to be a candidate for president under the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause. Wednesday will see an appeal, a source told the Washington Examiner, after the state's Republican Party's petition to the Supreme Court last week asking the court to overturn the decision.

In a 43-page brief, Trump's lawyers said that Colorado's decision "is not and cannot be correct" under our system of "government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people."

"This Court should grant certiorari to consider this question of paramount importance, summarily reverse the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling, and return the right to vote for their candidate of choice to the voters," the attorneys said. The lawyer representing the former president argued that Congress should decide who is eligible to be president rather than state courts.

The Colorado Republican Party and the leftist organization that represents voters who supported Trump's removal have requested the Supreme Court to make a decision on the petition as soon as possible in order to fulfill the deadlines for primary votes. Using the same arguments as his Colorado appeal on Wednesday, Trump's legal team contested Maine's ruling in the state's appeals court on Tuesday.

Both judgments' automatic stays allow for appeals. It is unknown how the high court will rule on ballot exclusion since it has not made a decision on the 14th Amendment's insurrection clause since 1868.

Norma Anderson, a former Republican majority leader, was among the petitioners who persuaded the Colorado Supreme Court that Trump's comments were the reason for the Capitol disturbance on January 6.

"In a brief that also appeared on the Supreme Court's docket Tuesday, Anderson's attorneys wrote that the mob's overriding purpose was to help keep Trump in office by preventing the constitutionally mandated counting of President Biden's electoral votes."

"Trump sent them," Trump supporters told police during the altercation, citing "war (including the Civil War), revolution, and stopping certification of the election."

Based on the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits someone from holding public office if they "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" after swearing to protect the Constitution, applies to the president. The 4-3 decision by that court overruled a Denver judge's decision that allowed Trump to be exempt from the 14th Amendment notwithstanding his January 6th acts of rebellion.

The Colorado judges said in their 134-page majority decision that "President Trump incited and encouraged the use of violence and lawless action to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power."

On Wednesday, Trump's legal team requested the Supreme Court to take up the Colorado Republican Party Central Committee's argument that "Section 3 is not self-executing."

"Even if Section 3 does not require enforcement legislation to have effect, the lack of such legislation deprives the courts of judicially manageable standards," the attorneys for Trump said.

"Procedurally, Section 3 is silent on whether a jury, judge, or lone state election official makes factual determination and on the appropriate standard of review, creating the prospect of some courts adopting a preponderance of the evidence standard, others a clear and convincing evidence standard, and still others requiring a criminal conviction," the lawyers for Trump wrote.

Defense attorneys emphasized the ambiguity between "engage" and "insurrection."

Trump's attorneys said that "51 jurisdictions may (and have) issued varied decisions based on different criteria on the same operational facts."

Jena Griswold, the Democratic secretary of state for Colorado, inquired of the Supreme Court on Tuesday about the possibility of taking Trump off the ballot and provided a schedule of election dates that her office is required by state law to adhere to.

States that have opposed efforts to keep Trump off primary ballots include Michigan and California. Left-leaning legal firms have filed lawsuits in at least thirty states on behalf of voters hoping to prevent Trump from entering the race.

Trump described his rejections of voting eligibility as a sign of a "banana republic."

The idea of keeping Trump off the primary ballot has drawn criticism from the majority of Republicans and some Democrats, who argue that voters should decide whether or not he will fight President Joe Biden in November.

Withdrawing from the primary elections in Maine and Colorado won't impact Trump's chances of winning the GOP nomination. Trump is leading the primary polls in South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Iowa; if he wins all three, he may strengthen his position.

Special counsel Jack Smith, district attorneys Alvin Bragg and Fani Willis for New York County, which includes Manhattan, and Fulton County, respectively, have filed 91 criminal allegations against Trump, including conspiracy to rig the 2020 election.

"By considering the question of President Trump’s eligibility and barring him from the ballot, the Colorado Supreme Court arrogated Congress’ authority," lawyers said. The Democratic secretary of state of Maine, according to Trump's legal team, "used the Colorado proceedings as justification for unlawfully striking President Trump from that state's ballot."


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