Trump, plaintiffs appeal Colorado 14th Amendment ruling

Former President Trump and the group of plaintiffs battling over whether the former president should be disqualified from the Colorado ballot under the 14th Amendment both appealed the case to the state’s top court Monday.

A Colorado judge ruled Friday that Trump had engaged in insurrection by inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, but the judge tossed the lawsuit by finding the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to the presidency.

Trump in his appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court said he agreed with the latter part of the ruling keeping him on the state’s ballot but is appealing on other issues.

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“But the district court nonetheless made legal and factual findings wholly unsupported in the law, and these errors demand review – especially if the Petitioners in this matter also seek review of the sole dispositive issue upon which President Trump prevailed,” Trump’s attorneys wrote, raising 11 issues in their appeal.

Those petitioners are indeed seeking review, also filing an appeal Monday on different grounds.

Left-leaning group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which filed the lawsuit on behalf of four Republicans and two independent Colorado voters, asked Colorado’s top court to rule that the amendment does indeed apply to the presidency.

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Many legal experts believe the dispute is ultimately headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, a notion that both sides acknowledged as a possibility in their latest filings.

The 14th Amendment prohibits someone from holding “any office … under the United States” if they engaged in insurrection after taking an oath as “an officer of the United States” to “support” the Constitution.

Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace said that language means the amendment can’t be used to prevent Trump from appearing on the ballot, regardless of whether the then-president’s actions on Jan. 6 cleared the threshold.

Wallace ruled the presidency was not an “office … under the United States,” because the amendment explicitly lists all federal elected positions, except for the presidency and vice presidency. Wallace further ruled Trump was not an “officer of the United States” in the first place, referencing other constitutional provisions that distinguish the presidency from federal officers.

“Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, passed after the Civil War, excludes from federal or state office those who engaged in insurrection against the Constitution after previously taking an oath to support it,” CREW argued in its appeal brief.

“Because the district court found that Trump engaged in insurrection after taking the Presidential oath of office, it should have concluded that he is disqualified from office and ordered the Secretary of State to exclude him from the Colorado presidential primary ballot,” the group continued.

The case is one of multiple 14th Amendment lawsuits against Trump proceeding across the country. A liberal activist group that filed a lawsuit in Michigan appealed its case to the state’s top court last week. Minnesota’s top court threw out another 14th Amendment lawsuit earlier this month.

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