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National Review
National Review
18 Nov 2023
David Zimmermann

NextImg:Colorado Judge Rules Trump Can Stay on Primary Ballot, Dismissing 14th Amendment Challenge

A Colorado judge ruled that former president Donald Trump can stay on the state’s presidential primary ballot, dismissing a 14th Amendment challenge that alleges Trump is barred from holding office again because he “engaged in an insurrection.”

Colorado district judge Sarah Wallace found Trump as president was not considered an “officer of the United States,” as it’s written under Section Three of the 14th Amendment, because he never previously served as a “congressman, state legislator, or state officer,” she wrote. Therefore, the plaintiffs’ bid to remove Trump from next year’s Colorado ballot due to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, was denied.

“Pursuant to the above, the Court ORDERS the Secretary of State to place Donald J. Trump on the presidential primary ballot when it certifies the ballot on January 5, 2024,” Wallace concluded in her 102-page order Friday evening.

The judge, despite ruling in favor of Trump, did find that the former president’s actions on January 6 constituted an “incitement to insurrection.” However, she reconciled that conclusion with the understanding that Section Three of the 14th Amendment “did not intend to include the President as ‘an officer of the United States’ … [or] a person who had only taken the Presidential Oath.”

Although their lawsuit against Trump was rejected, the plaintiffs, comprising four Republicans and two independent voters in Colorado, are expected to appeal Wallace’s decision to the state supreme court within one week of the ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court may also get involved in the case down the line. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an ethics watchdog organization, backed the litigation.

Colorado secretary of state Jena Griswold (D), though she did not take a side in the case, assured plaintiffs the court decision could be appealed. “The Court determined that Donald Trump is eligible to be placed on the Colorado ballot in the March Presidential Primary. This decision may be appealed,” she posted on X. “As Secretary of State, I will always ensure that every voter can make their voice heard in free and fair elections.”

The Colorado presidential primary election is set for March 5, 2024.

Similar 14th Amendment cases made against Trump’s ballot eligibility have also been dismissed in Minnesota, Michigan, and New Hampshire. The latest decision comes as Trump faces numerous legal battles, including four criminal indictments, in his second bid for the White House.