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Political Litigation

Colorado Voters File Lawsuit to Block Trump from 2024 Election Ballots

— September 9, 2023

A half-dozen Colorado voters have filed a lawsuit seeking to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 election ballots.

According to NBC News, the lawsuit was filed earlier this week in a Denver-based district court.

In their complaint, the six plaintiffs contend that Trump’s alleged facilitation of the January 6th riots outside of the U.S. Capitol constituted a form of insurrection under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment, passed in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, states that no person shall seek or hold public office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after having taken an oath to support the United States Constitution and defend its values.

The lawsuit alleges that it would be “improper” and a “beach or neglect of duty” for Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to let Trump appear on any of the state’s general election ballots.

Somewhat surprisingly, the organization behind the lawsuit—Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW—filed the complaint on behalf of six voters, four of whom are registered Republicans.

Donald Trump; image by Michael Vadon, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.
Donald Trump; image by Michael Vadon, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes.

The plaintiffs include former state Rep. Claudine Schneider, who represented a Rhode Island district between 1981 and 1991, and Norma Anderson, the former majority leader of the Colorado state legislature.

Collectively, they claim that Trump violated his oath of office by inciting supporters to attack the Capitol.

“President Trump was the mob’s leader, and the mob was his weapon. The mob traveled from throughout the country to Washington because the President summoned them there,” the lawsuit alleges. “He instructed the mob to march on the Capitol and they complied. Many in the mob left the Capitol grounds only when, after hours of violence against police officers and interference with Congress’s constitutionally-mandated duties, Trump belatedly told them to leave.”

Griswold has yet to weigh in on the lawsuit, but recently said that she hopes the court will resolve the claim as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“I look forward to the Colorado Court’s substantive resolution of the issues, and am hopeful that this case will provide guidance to election officials on Trump’s eligibility as a candidate for office,” she said in a statement.

However, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung has already derided the lawsuit as meritless, saying that the plaintiffs are “people who are pursuing this absurd conspiracy theory and political attack on President Trump.”

They are “stretching the law beyond recognition much like the political prosecutors in New York, Georgia, and D.C.,” Cheung added.

“There is no legal basis for this effort except in the minds of those who are pushing it,” he said.

CREW conceded in its initial filing that, while a 14th Amendment challenge is novel, there has been no reason to test its provisions “in the last 150 years, due to lack of insurrections.”


A lawsuit seeks to bar Trump from the primary in Colorado, citing Constitution’s insurrection clause

Six Colorado voters sue to remove Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot

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