The Colorado State Supreme Court has ruled that former President Donald Trump should be barred from holding public office again, including the presidency. This ruling, rooted in Trump’s actions during the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, marks a significant stance against insurrectionist behavior.
The lower court had previously acknowledged Trump’s role as an insurrectionist but allowed a technicality for his potential candidacy. However, in a bold move, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned this decision, citing the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits individuals who have engaged in insurrection from holding office.
The majority opinion of the court was profound and unequivocal: “A majority of the court holds that President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” This decisive statement reflects a commitment to upholding the Constitution against threats to democracy.
Interestingly, the court cited several state’s rights cases to support its decision, including one involving current Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. This reference to Gorsuch’s previous rulings on state rights creates an intriguing challenge for the federal Supreme Court, where Gorsuch now sits. Should the federal Court, which leans conservatively, choose to overturn this ruling, it could lead to Gorsuch contradicting his past stances on the state’s authority in enforcing federal election laws.
This situation places the conservative-majority Supreme Court in a difficult position. If they overturn the Colorado decision and Gorsuch sides with this reversal, it would mean a direct contradiction of his earlier views on a state’s right to enforce conditions for presidential candidacy.
As Elie Mystal of The Nation pointedly observes, Gorsuch might very well turn away from his previous arguments, but the Colorado court’s reliance on his prior judgments is a masterful legal strategy.
Grant Stern from Occupy Democrats also highlighted the Colorado justices’ strategic move, emphasizing their reliance on Gorsuch’s prior decisions. This approach could potentially corner Gorsuch and his conservative colleagues, forcing them to either uphold their past principles or blatantly contradict them.
In response to the ruling, the Trump campaign has vowed to appeal the decision. Trump himself has taken to social media to decry the ruling as “election interference,” despite the lawsuit being initiated by Republican and independent voters, not Democrats.
Norma Anders, a Republican petitioner in the case, praised the court’s ruling, emphasizing its role in protecting the Constitution and ensuring that Colorado’s Republican primary voters are only considering eligible candidates.
This ruling from the Colorado State Supreme Court is more than a legal judgment; it’s a bold statement in defense of democracy and a warning against those who threaten its foundations. As the appeal process unfolds, all eyes will be on the Supreme Court, where the ultimate decision on Trump’s political future and the interpretation of constitutional law will be determined.