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Colorado Judge Dismisses Effort to Keep Donald Trump off the Ballot

Judge Sarah B. Wallace ordered the secretary of state to allow the Republican to appear on the primary ballot in March

Colorado Judge Dismisses Effort to Keep Donald Trump off the Ballot

An effort to keep former President Donald Trump off the Colorado ballot in 2024 has been denied.

Colorado District Court Judge Sarah B. Wallace dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Republican frontrunner’s eligibility under the Fourteenth Amendment. She ordered the secretary of state to include Trump on the ballot for the state’s March 5 primary.

Six Colorado voters filed the lawsuit in September with the aid of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group. The petitioners argued Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021 constituted engaging in an insurrection. 

“Donald Trump tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election,” stated the lawsuit. “Before the election, he made plans to cast doubt on and undermine confidence in our nation’s election infrastructure. After the election, he knowingly sought to subvert our Constitution and system of elections through a sustained campaign of lies.”

The case went to trial in October.

Attorney Sean Grimsley, who represented the plaintiffs, argued the former president “spearheaded a multifaceted scheme to stay in power by any means necessary” which “culminated in a violent attack on the Capitol on January 6th during the constitutionally mandated counting of electoral votes.”

“And now he wants to be president again,” said Grimsley during closing statements, per CPR. “The constitution does not allow that. … Through his actions and his actions alone, Donald Trump has disqualified himself from ever holding office again.”

In his closing statements, Trump’s attorney Scott Gessler said the Republican was not involved with the riot at the Capitol and that he did not encourage his supporters to partake in violence.

The violence began well before President Trump finished his speech. So it's difficult to see how the January 6th speech caused this,” said Gessler, who previously served as Colorado’s secretary of state. 

Gessler also cited the Brandenburg test, from the 1969 Supreme Court case Brandenburg v. Ohio, which is used to determine an incitement of violence from inflammatory speech.

“We’re not saying that the First Amendment, pardon my pun, trumps the 14th Amendment, or vice versa,” he said, per Colorado Newsline. “What we are saying (is) the court is required to harmonize the two — when possible, to find a construction that harmonizes the two. And the Brandenburg standards are what harmonizes it.”

The ruling comes just over a week after the Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a similar lawsuit aiming to keep Trump off the ballot. 

“There is no state statute that prohibits a major political party from placing on the presidential nomination primary ballot, or sending delegates to the national convention supporting, a candidate who is ineligible to hold office,” wrote Minnesota’s chief justice, Natalie E. Hudson. “Because there is no error to correct here as to the presidential nomination primary, and petitioners’ other claims regarding the general election are not ripe, the petition must be dismissed, but without prejudice as to petitioners bringing a petition raising their claims as to the general election.”

The outcome of the Colorado case coincides with the release of all the footage captured at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

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