In a significant legal development, Colorado Judge Sarah B. Wallace rejected a request to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at preventing former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s presidential ballot. The lawsuit invokes the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies individuals from holding office if they have engaged in or supported insurrection. The case specifically focuses on Trump’s conduct leading up to and on January 6, when a mob of his followers breached the U.S. Capitol.
Lawyers for Trump contended that his actions and speeches related to the January 6 events did not amount to incitement of insurrection, thereby arguing that the case should be thrown out. However, Judge Wallace decided that the case should proceed, emphasizing the necessity for a comprehensive debate on the complex legal questions it raises. These questions notably include the interplay between First Amendment rights and the 14th Amendment provisions cited by both parties.
Judge Wallace clarified that her decision to let the case move forward was not an endorsement of either side’s arguments. She stated, “I’m not making any judgments on these matters today. To approve the request for a directed verdict, I would have to resolve numerous legal questions that I’m not ready to address at this point.”
During the initial three days of hearings, the plaintiffs argued that Trump had a well-established connection with far-right groups and was thus accountable for the violence that erupted on January 6. They maintained that the events of that day constituted an insurrection, making the 14th Amendment applicable to Trump.
After the judge’s decision to continue the case, Trump’s defense team began presenting their counter-arguments. Judge Wallace noted that a more complete set of facts from both sides would better inform her final decision on the legal issues at hand.
Interestingly, similar cases are underway in Minnesota and Michigan, the latter being a crucial battleground state. It’s highly likely that one of these cases will eventually reach the Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause.” Notably, three of the current Supreme Court justices were nominated by Trump during his tenure.