A Colorado judge on Friday dismissed an effort to keep former President Donald Trump off the state’s ballot in 2024.
Colorado District Court Judge Sarah B. Wallace issued a ruling in the Trump ballot eligibility case, ordering the Colorado secretary of state to place Trump on the state’s primary ballot for next year.
The ruling is another victory for Trump after courts in Minnesota and Michigan this month rejected similar legal efforts to disqualify him from running for president in those states.
A group of Colorado voters filed a legal challenge to Trump’s candidacy in September, arguing that his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and his and conduct surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, making him ineligible for office.
In her ruling, Wallace found that Trump did engage in an insurrection by inciting a riot on Jan. 6, 2021, but that the president is not subject to Section 3 because they are not an “officer of the United States.”
She disputed that Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment applied to Trump, noting that the clause in question explicitly lists all federal elected positions but it does not include the president.
“While the Court agrees that there are persuasive arguments on both sides, the Court holds that the absence of the President from the list of positions to which the Amendment applies combined with the fact that Section Three specifies that the disqualifying oath is one to ‘support’ the Constitution whereas the Presidential oath is to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ the Constitution,” Wallace wrote.
She added, “it appears to the Court that for whatever reason the drafters of Section Three did not intend to include a person who had only taken the Presidential Oath.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and several law firms filed the lawsuit on behalf of the voters.
An attorney for the group of voters who filed the legal challenge said they would appeal.
“The Court found that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection against the Constitution after a careful and thorough review of the evidence,” attorney Sean Grimsley said in a statement. “We are very pleased with the opinion and look forward to addressing the sole legal issue on appeal, namely whether Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment applies to insurrectionist presidents. We believe that it does.”
CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement that the group intends to file the appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court “shortly,” adding that when they filed this case, “we knew it likely would not end at the district court level.”