Colorado Supreme Court hears arguments in Trump ballot eligibility case

The Colorado Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a case challenging former President Donald Trump’s eligibility to appear on the state’s ballot in 2024.

Colorado District Court Judge Sarah B. Wallace last month rejected an effort by a group of Colorado voters to keep Trump off the ballot.

The group, represented by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a lawsuit in September seeking to remove Trump from the ballot. They argue that his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his conduct surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, making him ineligible for office.

In her ruling last month, Wallace found that although Trump engaged in an insurrection by inciting a riot at the Capitol, he is not subject to Section 3 because he is not an “officer of the United States.” She noted that Section 3 explicitly lists all federal elected positions except the presidency.

“While the Court agrees that there are persuasive arguments on both sides, the Court holds that the absence of the President from the list of positions to which the Amendment applies combined with the fact that Section Three specifies that the disqualifying oath is one to ‘support’ the Constitution whereas the Presidential oath is to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ the Constitution,” Wallace wrote.

Days after she issued her ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear appeals related to the ruling that were filed by both Trump and the group of Colorado voters in the case. The former president refuted Wallace’s finding that he had “engaged in insurrection,” and the voters rejected the state judge’s assertion that Section 3 does not apply to the presidency.

Oral arguments before the Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday take place a month before the deadline for Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to certify ballots for the state’s March 5 primary.

Similar recent legal efforts in Minnesota and Michigan to disqualify Trump from the 2024 ballot have been rejected. Attorneys for a group of Michigan activists have appealed the decision to the state’s Supreme Court.