CPR News -
In a landmark decision, the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that former president Donald Trump is disqualified from appearing on the state’s primary ballot next year. The Justices’ 4-3 ruling concludes that Trump engaged in an insurrection with his words and actions around the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol and therefore cannot hold the nation’s highest office again. This is the first time a state’s high court has concluded the 14th Amendment’s Civil War-era Disqualification Clause applies to both the office of the presidency and the actions of the former president.
Supreme Courts in Minnesota and Michigan dismissed similar complaints. In a statement, the Trump campaign called the ruling "a completely flawed decision" that took away "the rights of Colorado voters to vote for the candidate of their choice," and said it would swiftly file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. If the highest court agrees to hear the case, and if it is still in process when Colorado’s ballot hits its certification deadline on Jan. 5, the Justices ordered that Trump’s name should be included on the GOP primary ballot, ahead of the court’s final decision. Three members of the court — Chief Justice Brian Boatright, and Justices Carlos Samour and Maria E. Berkenkotter — filed dissents. All seven members of Colorado’s highest court were appointed by Democratic governors, though they first went through a bipartisan nomination process.
The ruling overturns the finding of a district court judge that the Disqualification Clause does not cover the office of the presidency. It also reaffirms that, under Colorado law, the court has jurisdiction to bar disqualified candidates from the Republican Party’s primary ballot. They also concluded that the judicial branch is empowered to apply the clause. The lawsuit was initiated by the liberal group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on behalf of six Colorado voters, four Republicans and two unaffiliated. CREW successfully used the same argument to block a county commissioner in New Mexico from holding public office after participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Due process concerns were echoed in Justice Boatright’s dissent, which concluded there wasn’t enough time for the court to decide such a subjective and consequential election case. He noted it takes a two-thirds vote of the U.S. Congress to overturn a Section Three disqualification.