There’s been a significant decision in Colorado recently surrounding the lawsuit aimed to impede the potential presidential candidacy of Donald Trump next year, utilizing a section of the 14th Amendment.
The judge handling the case, Sarah Wallace of the Colorado District Court, dismissed Trump’s argument that the issue of candidacy eligibility solely pertains to the jurisdiction of Congress and not the courts. In her 24-page resolution, Judge Wallace maintained that states can boot a candidate from the ballot per the 14th Amendment without necessitating federal enforcement legislation.
This ruling doesn’t just carry implications for the former President but underscores a broader debate within the academic and legal community. At the center stage of this conversation is a particular provision of the 14th Amendment, a relic from the Civil War era.
This statute effectively restricts any U.S. citizen involved in an ‘insurrection or rebellion against the United States’ from occupying an elected position.
This suit got lodged by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), an advocacy group aiming to foster accountability and transparency in U.S. politics.
They are filing on behalf of six registered Republican and independent voters from Colorado, some of whom are erstwhile federal, state, and local authorities.
This legal move forms part of an overarching argument stating that Trump’s alleged actions relating to the Capitol incident on January 6, 2021, render him ineligible for the ballot under the said amendment.
Trump has consistently maintained his innocence regarding the Capitol incident. Despite the heavy scrutiny surrounding the event, he has not officially been charged or found guilty of an ‘insurrection’. This term has been liberally used by Trump’s political adversaries to depict a riot that ensued in the Capitol building following a speech by Trump.
It was during this speech, dubbed as the ‘Stop the Steal’ address, wherein Trump encouraged his followers to march towards the Capitol.
Here, legislators inside were then in the process of validating the 2020 Presidential election results favoring Joe Biden. Trump stressed that the march to the Capitol should be conducted in a peaceful manner.
While he has indeed been charged in relation to the incident, neither ‘insurrection’ nor ‘sedition’ are included among the accusations. Special Counsel Jack Smith is handling the charges against Trump for his supposed involvement in the events of that fateful day in January last year.
Earlier that week, in a similar vein, the judge had rebuffed Trump’s submission for case dismissal without providing an indication of her stance on the matter.
Judge Wallace gave particular importance to the task of probing and implementing the 14th Amendment’s disqualification stipulation. However, she deferred the resolution of vital concerns to the trial stage.
This is not an isolated case. Similar cases have sprouted around the U.S., spearheaded by different groups stating that Trump is unfit to run based on the 14th Amendment. Trials are also set in states like Minnesota and Michigan, the former set to be heard on November 2nd.
Trump’s legal hassles don’t begin and end with this eligibility case, as he’s also been grappling with lawsuits alleging his civil liability for the violence transpired on January 6 at the Capitol.
Prior to confronting any criminal charges, Trump addressed these civil allegations by asserting absolute immunity; an assertion rejected by federal judges overseeing these cases in Washington, D.C.
These lawsuits are presently ongoing in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Of particular note is the litigation involving U.S. Capitol Police Officer James Blassingame which had oral arguments conducted earlier this year.
These impending cases and their potential verdicts carry divergent consequences, varying from financial recompense to imprisonment.
Still, they do share a common thread: contesting Trump’s claim of immunity from prosecution for his actions during his tenure as President. Trump’s legal counsel intends to present the issue of executive immunity ‘very soon’ in the criminal court, with insider sources revealing they believe this civil appeal provides the best opportunity for the Supreme Court to decide on the issue.