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Trump appeals Colorado ballot ruling to U.S. Supreme Court

Donald Trump appeals bombshell ruling disqualifying him from Colorado ballot to Supreme Court

We could soon learn whether and how quickly the justices may take up the 14th Amendment issue.

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to overturn a bombshell decision from a Colorado court that could keep him off that state’s ballot over his actions connected to the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“In our system of ‘government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people,’ Colorado’s ruling is not and cannot be correct,” Trump told the high court in the filing. The court, he added, should “return the right to vote for their candidate of choice to the voters.”

Trump’s filing has been expected for days, and the Colorado decision is already before the U.S. Supreme Court. But the appeal was nevertheless historic: a leading presidential candidate formally asking the nation’s top court to ensure his name appears on ballots. The stakes for the 2024 election are enormous as are the potential perils for the Supreme Court.

The justices are likely to decide relatively quickly whether to expedite briefing in the case − a decision that would provide clarity on whether they’ll hear it and how quickly they might rule. Most legal experts believe the high court will have to resolve the case, but will seek a way to do so narrowly. Dozens of similar lawsuits are pending in states across the country.

“I urge the court to consider this case as quickly as possible. Coloradans − and the American people − deserve clarity on whether someone who engaged in insurrection may run for the country’s highest office,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement.

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Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled last month that Trump was barred from another term – and therefore banned from that state’s primary ballot – by a Civil War era provision in the 14th Amendment intended to keep federal officials who sided with the Confederacy from regaining power in the reconstructed federal government.

Since then, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, said that she also believed Trump had made himself ineligible for the primary ballot in that state. Trump sued over that decision on Tuesday.

The practical effect of both the Colorado and Maine decisions were put on hold pending the outcome of the legal cases. The issue will likely ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.

“We are reviewing Trump’s appeal and will be filing our response tomorrow to ensure the Colorado Supreme Court’s historic ruling stands,” said Jordan Libowitz, a spokesperson for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which represented the voters who filed the initial lawsuit in Colorado.

A Colorado district judge late last year that Trump had “engaged in an insurrection” by inciting the mob that stormed that U.S. Capitol but that the provision of the 14th Amendment that disqualifies certain officials involved with insurrection did not apply to a president. The state’s Supreme Court ruled that the provision does, in fact, apply to presidents and disqualified Trump.

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event on December 19, 2023 in Waterloo, Iowa.
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event on December 19, 2023 in Waterloo, Iowa.

“We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” the court wrote. “We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.”

The Colorado court, which voted 4-3, said it would stay its own ruling until early January at the earliest. For practical purposes, the court’s ruling will now be on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court deals with the case.

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Other states have reached a different conclusion: California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a Democrat, said she would include Trump on her state’s primary ballot. Supreme courts in Michigan and Minnesota both ruled that Trump would remain on the ballots in those states.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY