Colorado Supreme Court Disqualifies Trump

On December 19, 2023, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a 133-page opinion finding that Donald J. Trump was properly disqualified from the Colorado presidential primary ballot by Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment (commonly known as the “Disqualification Clause”). The Court’s full opinion (including dissents) may be found here.

The effort to protect the Colorado ballot from insurrectionist influence was spearheaded by a brave group of Colorado Republicans represented by an excellent team of attorneys from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Attorneys Shayne Huffman and Levi Monagle from Hall Monagle Huffman & Wallace proudly participated in this effort by through the filing of an amicus brief on behalf of Colorado Common Cause and former Colorado Secretary of State Mary Estill Buchanan. The Common Cause amicus brief may be found here.

The COSC opinion affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of Colorado District Court Judge Sarah B. Wallace issued several weeks earlier. In the estimation of Judge Wallace, Mr. Trump had “engaged in insurrection” against the Constitution of the United States, but was not properly an “officer of the United States” within the meaning of the Disqualification Clause, and could not be removed from the primary ballot on those grounds. Following a meticulously detailed and well-reasoned historical and legal analysis, the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the holding that Mr. Trump had engaged in insurrection against the Constitution of the United States, but reversed the holding that he was not an “officer of the United States” within the meaning of the Disqualification Clause. As such, the Court order the Colorado Secretary of State to remove Mr. Trump’s name from the presidential primary ballot.

The Court’s decision is one of historic importance, and will almost certainly be appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The battle to preserve the constitutional rule of law continues.

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