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Colorado Judge Rejects Trump’s Latest Effort to Dismiss Election Eligibility Lawsuit

— October 26, 2023

A judge found Trump’s claim–that a 14th Amendment issue must be adjudicated by Congress, rather than the courts–entirely devoid of merit.

A Colorado judge has rebuffed former President Donald Trump’s latest attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging his eligibility to participate in the 2024 general election.

As has reported before, the complaint broadly asserts that Trump’s alleged facilitation of the January 6th riots inside the U.S. Capitol renders him ineligible to run for federal office under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Originally passed during the Reconstruction Era, the 14th Amendment generally prohibits anyone who has “engaged in insurrection” against the United States from holding any office without at least two-thirds approval from both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

According to The Hill, Trump and his legal team had argued that any matter of ballot eligibility must be adjudicated by Congress rather than the courts.

However, Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace rejected Trump’s argument in a 24-page ruling, noting that state election officials have the authority to invoke Section 3 of the 14th Amendment whenever sufficient grounds to do so exist.

“The Court holds that state can, and have, applied Section 3 pursuant to state statutes without federal enforcement legislation,” Wallace wrote, adding that the clause “clearly gives Congress the ability to remove a constitutional disability should a person be disqualified.”

“It says nothing about what government body would adjudicate or determine such disability in the first instance,” Wallace said, opining that it would make little sense if Congress authorized no entity other than itself to make the initial determination of ineligibility.

Donald J. Trump speaking at a Republican summit in 2015. Image via Flickr/user:Michael Vadon. (CCA-BY-2.0)

“The Court notes, however, [that] it would be strange for Congress to be the only entity that is empowered to determine the disability and then also the entity that is empowered to remove it,” she said.

Wallace stated that the court shall reconvene next week to consider whether “there is any evidence or argument at trial that provides the Court with additional guidance on whether the issue of presidential eligibility has been delegated to the United States Congress.”

The ruling, adds The Hill, was announced just days before a trial in the case is expected to commence.

Since the lawsuit was filed, Trump has repeatedly—and somewhat loudly—denied culpability in attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, including ballot interference in Georgia and rioters’ attempts to interrupt certification on January 6th.

However, Trump has thus far had limited success in challenging the lawsuit’s viability.

Last week, for instance, a U.S. District Judge rejected Trump’s request to move the Colorado election case into a federal court, finding that Trump had failed to even follow the proper procedure to do so.


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