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By Sarah May on
 January 19, 2024

Trump files SCOTUS brief urging swift reversal of Colorado ballot ban

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on whether states may boot Donald Trump from their respective primary ballots by citing a provision contained in the Fourteenth Amendment, attorneys for the former president have just submitted a filing urging a swift reversal of a Colorado decision purporting to do just that, as The Hill reports.

At issue is a recent move by the Colorado Supreme Court declaring Trump ineligible for inclusion on the state's Republican primary ballot due to the panel's finding that he engaged in “insurrection” by virtue of conduct related to the Jan. 6, 2021, unrest at the U.S. Capitol.

Relying on language in the aforementioned constitutional amendment suggesting that those involved in insurrection are subsequently barred from public office, the Colorado high court ruled that Trump may not be included for voter consideration in the GOP primary, a move that challengers in a number of other jurisdictions hope will spread to other states.

In their filing to the high court ahead of oral arguments scheduled for Feb. 8, Trump's attorneys declared the Colorado court's decision to have been based on a “dubious interpretation” of the amendment in question and one that requires immediate reversal and an end to all similar challenges in states around the country.

Trump's brief declared, “The Court should put a swift and decisive end to these ballot-disqualification efforts, which threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans, and which promise to unleash chaos and bedlam if other state courts and state officials follow Colorado's lead and exclude the likely Republican presidential nominee from their ballots.”

Lawyers representing the current GOP frontrunner argued, “The fact remains President Trump did not commit or participate in the unlawful acts that occurred at the Capitol, and this court cannot tolerate a regime that allows a candidate's eligibility for office to hinge on a trial court's assessment of dubious expert-witness testimony or claims that President Trump has powers of telepathy.”

Even setting that contention aside, the attorneys suggest, the high court does not even need to address whether or not they believe Trump's actions constituted insurrection sufficient to trigger the Fourteenth Amendment clause on which Colorado's court relied.

Trump's brief requested that the court find that the aforementioned constitutional language simply does not apply to the office of the presidency and also argued that the language at issue is enforceable anyone without further action on the part of Congress.

Referencing the contested provision, Trump's filing states, “The text of section 3 does not confer enforcement authority on state courts or state officials, and it does not specify a process for determining whether an individual has 'engaged in insurrection' and disqualified himself from holding an enumerated office.”

Rather, they suggest, “the Fourteenth Amendment empowers Congress to 'enforce' section 3 with 'appropriate legislation,'” which legislators have never made moves to promulgate.

Amicus briefs penned by parties in support of Trump's position have been making their way to the high court ahead of a Jan. 31 deadline, and among them is a statement of support to which 170 lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate have affixed their names, as Fox News reports.

Spearheaded by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), the legislators' brief asserts that the Colorado Court's Trump ballot ban “encroaches” on congressional power in an unacceptable way and sidesteps textural and structural limitations of the constitutional provision it cites.

Speaking to Fox News Digital on the matter, Cruz said, “The radical left consistently does what they claim their opponents are doing. While President Biden and his allies claim they are defending democracy, their supporters are working to undermine democracy by banning Biden's likely general election opponent from appearing on the ballot.”

Another notable amicus brief in support of Trump's stance was filed this week by three former U.S. attorneys general, namely, Edwin Meese, Michael Mukasey, and William Barr, though it remains to be seen whether the justices as the nation's top court will agree with their contentions and reject the Colorado ballot disqualification as an untenable – and indeed unconstitutional – overreach.

Written By:
Sarah May

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