Friday, May 24, 2024

Trump to remain on Colorado primary ballot after judge dismisses lawsuit

(BBC News) A judge in Colorado has rejected an attempt to bar former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 Republican presidential primary.

It ends a landmark trial over a lawsuit that argued Trump’s actions leading up to the 2021 Capitol riot render him ineligible to hold office again.

Similar challenges, based on a U.S. Civil War-era constitutional amendment, have failed in three other states.

Trump, who did not appear at the hearing, has dismissed the effort.

District Judge Sarah Wallace issued the ruling on Friday, requiring that the Colorado secretary of state place Trump on the state’s primary ballot next year.

Section three of the 14th Amendment bars from office those who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it. A group of Colorado voters filed a legal challenge in September, arguing the amendment should apply to Trump and his involvement in the 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

But Wallace disagreed, arguing in her ruling that the 14th amendment’s insurrection ban does not apply to presidents because Section 3 does not explicitly name them.

“After considering the arguments on both sides, the Court is persuaded that ‘officers of the United States,’ did not include the President of the United States.”

“[I]t 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,” she wrote in her ruling.

Wallace did find, however, that Trump “engaged in an insurrection on January 6, 2021, through incitement, and that the First Amendment does not protect Trump’s speech.”

The ruling is the latest setback for efforts to disqualify Trump from the Republican primary election.

Similar lawsuits in New Hampshire, Minnesota and Michigan have already failed.

In a statement issued after the ruling, the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – which filed the Colorado lawsuit – said it would be filing an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court shortly.

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