Colorado District Judge Sarah B. Wallace concluded that former President Donald Trump engaged in insurrection during the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack. However, she dismissed an attempt to exclude him from Colorado’s primary ballot, citing ambiguity in the 14th Amendment’s applicability to presidential candidates. The lawsuit, initiated by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on behalf of Republican and independent voters, argued Trump violated the 14th Amendment, which bars officeholders who engage in insurrection.
Wallace’s ruling aligns with recent decisions in Minnesota and Michigan, where courts also declined to remove Trump from ballots, emphasizing the role of political parties and Congress in such determinations. Despite acknowledging Trump’s insurrection involvement, Wallace expressed hesitation in disqualifying a presidential candidate without explicit guidance from Section 3 of the Amendment.
Trump’s campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, criticized the lawsuits as politically motivated, while Mario Nicolais, representing the plaintiffs, expressed satisfaction with the court’s recognition of Trump’s insurrection but plans to appeal the decision. Legal experts view Wallace’s finding as significant, with potential implications for future court rulings.
Trump’s defense argued for his First Amendment rights and contested the application of Section 3 to presidential candidates. The case, focusing on a rarely invoked Constitutional clause, raises questions about its historical intent and application, particularly regarding presidential eligibility. The debate continues as the issue may eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.