Liberal advocacy groups are appealing lower court rulings in Colorado and Michigan that would keep former President Donald Trump on the primary ballot next year, asserting that the U.S. Constitution’s clause on insurrection forbids him from being reelected following the 2021 riot at the Capitol.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a left-leaning watchdog group, filed an appeal on behalf of a group of voters Monday with the Colorado Supreme Court, after a trial judge rejected their claim that Mr. Trump can’t be on the state’s primary ballot.
The judge reasoned that Mr. Trump did engage in an insurrection, but that the insurrection clause of the Constitution preventing rebels from serving in office didn’t apply to the presidency.
“We always knew this case would end up before the Colorado Supreme Court, and have been preparing for that from the beginning,” said Noah Bookbinder, president of CREW. “We are planning to build on the trial judge’s incredibly important ruling that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection, and we are ready to take this case as far as necessary to ensure that Donald Trump is removed from the ballot.”
The group’s 67-page filing said the judge ruled for them on the fact the former president committed an insurrection, but made an error by not removing his name from the state’s ballots.
On Friday, Colorado state Judge Sarah Wallace, a Democrat appointee, held in a 102-page order that Mr. Trump did incite violence and an insurrection intentionally on Jan. 6, 2021. But she said Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — known as the insurrection clause — does not apply to the office of the presidency, permitting his name to stay on the ballot.
“The court holds there is scant direct evidence regarding whether the presidency is one of the positions subject to disqualification,” she wrote.
But she said Mr. Trump‘s speech on Jan. 6 where he told his supporters — whom he knew were angry — to “fight” repeatedly, “incited imminent lawless violence.”
She said his speech fell outside of First Amendment protections.
It’s the third court this month to deliver a win to Mr. Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, after liberal advocates have sought to keep him off the ballots in 2024.
Earlier this month, a Michigan judge gave the former president a partial win, saying the secretary of state can’t keep his name off the 2024 primary ballot.
Opponents of the president have also appealed that decision, asking the Michigan Supreme Court to issue a decision by Dec. 1 as they try to bypass an appeals court.
The Minnesota Supreme Court also dismissed a case on Nov. 8 in an order, saying it couldn’t prevent the state party from putting Mr. Trump‘s name on their ballot. It left the general election issue to be decided at a later date, noting advocates can renew their challenge.
New Hampshire officials have also moved to keep Mr. Trump on the ballot in that state.
Though Mr. Trump is facing several indictments, he has not been charged or convicted of leading an insurrection during the attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021.
Those hoping to remove Mr. Trump from state ballots point to the Constitution’s clause which reads: “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”