In a significant ruling, Colorado Judge Sarah B. Wallace has dismissed an attempt by a left-leaning group to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 presidential primary ballot. The group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, acting on behalf of six Colorado voters, had sought to leverage the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment against Trump.
Judge Wallace clarified that the insurrection clause does not apply to presidential candidates, stating, “The court is hesitant to endorse an interpretation that would disqualify a presidential candidate without a clear and undeniable intention in Section 3 of the Amendment.” This decision in Colorado follows the failure of similar efforts to bar Trump from appearing on ballots in Michigan and Minnesota.
Trump’s campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, welcomed the ruling, condemning the attempts to disqualify Trump as undemocratic maneuvers by Democrats. “We commend the verdict in Colorado, marking another defeat for these un-American ballot challenges. These cases are nothing but the most cynical, overtly political efforts to meddle with the presidential election by Democrats who are acutely aware of Joe Biden’s failures and imminent electoral defeat,” Cheung stated.
In her ruling, Judge Wallace did acknowledge the Capitol riot as an “insurrection” and opined that Trump intended to “incite political violence.” She wrote, “Trump acted with a specific intention to provoke political violence aimed at the Capitol, aiming to disrupt the electoral certification process. He has consistently fostered a culture that normalizes political violence through his constant endorsement.”
Despite this, the group challenging Trump’s eligibility plans to appeal the decision. Their lawyer, Mario Nicolais, stated, “The court, after a detailed and thorough examination of evidence, found that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection. We are satisfied with this opinion and anticipate taking on the sole legal issue on appeal – whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment applies to insurrectionist presidents. We believe it does.”
Amidst these legal battles, Trump remains a frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination and has recently outpolled President Joe Biden in several key swing states.
The ruling coincided with House Speaker Mike Johnson’s announcement to release all January 6 footage. Contrary to previous selective releases focusing on violent clashes, recent footage showed protesters peacefully walking and interacting with law enforcement, which further complicates the narrative surrounding the Capitol riot.