Colorado voters vying to bar Trump from ballot file US Supreme Court brief

Colorado voters vying to bar Trump from ballot file US Supreme Court brief

Colorado voters vying to bar Trump from ballot file US Supreme Court brief By Reuters

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Published Jan 26, 2024 12:18PM ET
Updated Jan 26, 2024 12:51PM ET

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, U.S. December 19, 2023. REUTERS/Scott Morgan/File Photo

By John Kruzel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Six Colorado voters who argue that Donald Trump is ineligible for the presidency because he engaged in insurrection urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to uphold a judicial ruling that bars him from the state’s Republican primary ballot.

The plaintiffs filed the brief as the justices prepare to hear arguments in the politically explosive case on Feb. 8. Trump has asked the justices to overturn a Dec. 19 Colorado Supreme Court ruling that found Trump engaged in an insurrection that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

“Instead of peacefully ceding power, Trump intentionally organized and incited a violent mob to attack the United States Capitol in a desperate effort to prevent the counting of electoral votes cast against him,” the plaintiffs said in their brief to the Supreme Court.

Colorado’s Republican primary is set for Mar. 5. Trump is the frontrunner for his party’s nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 U.S. election. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is Trump’s final competitor for the nomination.

The plaintiffs – four Republican voters and two unaffiliated voters, who are backed by the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) – filed their suit in September. The lawsuit is part of a wider effort to disqualify Trump from state ballots under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, so the eventual ruling by the justices regarding Colorado’s primary may shape the outcome of that drive.

Trump also has appealed to a Maine court a decision by that state’s top election official barring him from the primary ballot under the 14th Amendment. That case is on hold until the Supreme Court issues its ruling in the Colorado case.

Trump’s lawyers have argued that presidents are exempt from the Constitution’s “disqualification clause” – Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The provision bars from public office any “officer of the United States” who took an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

The 14th Amendment was ratified in the aftermath of the American Civil War of 1861-1865 in which Southern states that allowed the practice of slavery rebelled in a bid for secession.

Trump’s lawyers also have argued that he did not participate in an insurrection and Congress should decide who is eligible for the presidency. They wrote in a brief to the justices that the disqualification efforts “promise to unleash chaos and bedlam.”

The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling marked the first time the disqualification clause was used to find a presidential candidate ineligible.

Trump supporters attacked the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s 2020 election victory over Trump. Trump gave an incendiary speech to supporters beforehand, repeating his false claims of widespread voting fraud and telling supporters to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell.”

Trump also faces criminal charges in two cases related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Colorado voters vying to bar Trump from ballot file US Supreme Court brief

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