On Friday, a judge in a Colorado district court ruled that Donald Trump must be placed on the ballot for the 2024 presidential election.
Judge Sarah Wallace, appointed in 2022 by Democrat Gov. Jared Polis, ruled that Trump did engage in insurrection on January 6, 2021, but was not an officer of the United States as defined by the Fourteenth Amendment.
The lawsuit cited Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which bans those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding federal office, as justification for removing Trump from the ballot.
Attorneys representing Trump argued that he never participated in an insurrection and that his questioning of the 2020 election results is protected political speech under the First Amendment.
“Trump’s comments did not come close to ‘incitement,’ let alone ‘engagement’ in an insurrection,” they wrote.
Judge Sarah Wallace disagreed.
Yet she looked more favorably upon Trump’s team’s argument that the amendment does not apply to the office of the president. The text of the amendment specifies “Senator or Representative in Congress” and “elector of President and Vice President” but not “President.”
Trump has not been convicted of insurrection and was acquitted by the U.S. Senate of charges of engaging in insurrection and continues to deny wrongdoing.
Wallace previously denied a motion by Trump’s legal team that she step aside due to her past donation to a liberal group working to keep Trump off the ballot — the very thing her ruling Friday accomplished — along with donations to many Democrat candidates for office.
She had also previously denied a motion by Trump and the Colorado GOP to throw the case out.
Trump continues to face legal challenges in numerous states across the country but has had a string of favorable rulings.
A federal court in New Hampshire recently threw out a similar case, stating that the Fourteenth Amendment claim is a “nonjusticiable political question.”
In Minnesota, a state court recently dismissed a lawsuit that aimed to prevent Trump from being on the primary ballot. Meanwhile, a judge in the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that the Secretary of State must include Trump on the ballot.
An appeal is likely. The Colorado case, or another similar case in another state, could likely land before the Supreme Court, which has never before ruled on the Civil War-era amendment.
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