". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Liberal Colorado Judge Rules Trump Will Remain on Ballot

November 21, 2023

A Centennial State judge is rejecting a leftist-led attempt to bar former president Donald Trump from appearing on Republican primary ballots. Petitioners in Colorado argued last month that a Civil War-era clause in the 14th Amendment should be used to prohibit Trump from running for office.

The clause was designed to keep former Confederates from using public office to undermine post-Civil War reconstruction efforts and bars “rebels” and “insurrectionists” from holding office. Colorado Second District Court Judge Sarah Wallace ruled on Friday that the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, could be classified as an “insurrection” and that Trump contributed to the events, but she determined that the 14th Amendment’s prohibitive clause did not extend to Trump. Wallace wrote:

“The Court holds that the Secretary [of State] cannot, on her own accord, keep a candidate from appearing on the ballot based on a constitutional infirmity unless that constitutional infirmity is ‘an objective, knowable fact.’ Here, whether Trump is disqualified under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment is not ‘an objective, knowable fact.’”

During the course of her ruling, Wallace defined an “insurrection” as “(1) a public use of force or threat of force (2) by a group of people (3) to hinder or prevent execution of the Constitution of the United States.” She concluded that “the events on and around January 6, 2021, easily satisfy this definition of ‘insurrection,’” and that “Trump incited an insurrection on January 6, 2021 and therefore ‘engaged’ in insurrection within the meaning of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

However, Wallace noted that section three of the 14th Amendment specifically enumerates which federal offices “insurrectionists” are prohibited from holding and that neither the presidency nor the vice presidency is listed among them. She wrote, “the Court holds that Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to Trump.” She added, “To be clear, part of the Court’s decision is its reluctance to embrace an interpretation which would disqualify a presidential candidate without a clear, unmistakable indication that such is the intent of Section Three.”

Appearing on “Washington Watch” last week, constitutional lawyer Mike Davis, founder of the Article 3 Project, said of leftists attempt to weaponize the 14th Amendment against Trump, “This is absolutely Democrat lawfare and election interference. It is unprecedented. It is very dangerous to democracy that the Democrats pretend like they are protecting.” He added, “They’re simply trying to take him off the ballot in several states because this lawfare and election interference is backfiring. And President Trump is on a path to beat President Biden like a drum on November 5, 2024. So they just want to take him off the ballot.” Davis noted that Wallace is a Democrat who was appointed by Democratic Governor Jared Polis and that she had previously backed a political action committee to target Republicans who supported Trump on January 6.

In comments to The Washington Stand, Davis said, “I was certain sitting through the weeklong trial that Judge Wallace was going to rule against President Trump, but I think she saw the political backlash that would result from such a ruling.” He continued, “Democrats impeached Trump twice, indicted him four times, slapped him with two illegal gag orders, and tried to bankrupt him with a bogus civil fraud lawsuit. This was their legal Hail Mary to take Trump off the ballot.”

Chris Gacek, a lawyer and the senior fellow for Regulatory Affairs at Family Research Council, warned TWS that Wallace’s ruling, though seemingly a surprisingly “positive outcome,” may just be a set-up for a higher court to rule against Trump. He said, “I think the Colorado judge punted — throwing it to the Colorado Supreme Court to overturn her decision.” Gacek noted that her charge of “insurrection” against Trump may be what a higher court needs to bar the former president from returning to office, while, as Davis pointed out, Wallace herself faces no real political backlash.

Courts in Michigan and Minnesota have issued similar rulings to the one in Colorado. Michigan Court of Claims Judge James Redford rejected 14th Amendment claims against Trump last week, ruling that the Michigan Secretary of State does not have the authority to intervene or interfere in primary elections and further noting that if Trump were to be declared an “insurrectionist” and the 14th Amendment used to bar him from office, it would be up to the U.S. Congress to try him for insurrection.

The Minnesota State Supreme Court issued a nearly identical ruling the week before, noting that primaries are conducted internally by parties and the Minnesota Secretary of State cannot intervene. However, the court also reminded petitioners that they were welcome to bring the same 14th Amendment argument against Trump should he be declared the Republican presidential candidate.

Unlike the decisions issued in Michigan and Minnesota, Wallace presided over a weeklong trial, hearing arguments and testimony from petitioners, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, the Colorado Republican State Central Committee, and lawyers representing Trump.

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.