In a split decision on Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that former US President Donald Trump cannot run for the White House in the state's Presidential primary.
Citing the US Constitution's insurrection clause, the court applied Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, marking the first instance in history that this section has been used to prevent a Presidential candidate from running.
The decision, made by justices appointed by Democratic governors, sets the stage for a likely legal battle in the nation's highest court to determine if Trump can remain a front-runner for the GOP nomination.
Previous attempts to remove Trump from the ballot in other states like New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Michigan have not succeeded.
🚨BREAKING: Colorado Supreme Court rules Donald Trump is DISQUALIFIED from holding the office of President pursuant to section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. Court stays ruling until Jan 4, 2024 for Trump to appeal to SCOTUS. https://t.co/9Kok2BkIYf pic.twitter.com/pGjCNWZN1Y— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) December 19, 2023
"We do not reach these conclusions lightly," wrote the court's majority, reported by AP. "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."
Despite losing Colorado by 13% in 2020, Trump's challenge lies in potential similar rulings in crucial states. Ongoing lawsuits across the country, invoking Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, present obstacles to Trump's return to the White House.
In addition to the Colorado ruling, Trump faces legal battles including a civil fraud trial in New York, 91 felony counts across various criminal cases, a classified documents case, accusations of election interference, a hush money scheme indictment, and charges related to overturning the 2020 election in Georgia. These challenges could significantly impact his political trajectory and influence the upcoming elections.
While Republicans criticised the ruling, the controversy surrounding Trump's eligibility continues as the decision remains temporarily on hold, casting uncertainty over his aspirations for a presidential return.
Donald Trump is currently facing a civil fraud trial in New York, with the judge already ruling that Trump deceived banks and others by inflating the value of assets.
In addition to the New York case, Trump is dealing with 91 felony counts across criminal cases in Washington, New York, Florida, and Georgia. A conviction could lead to several years in prison.
While campaigning, Mr. Trump's fellow Republicans criticized the ruling. Vivek Ramaswamy even promised to remove his name from the ballot if Trump's candidacy is not restored.
I pledge to withdraw from the Colorado GOP primary ballot until Trump is also allowed to be on the ballot, and I demand that Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley do the same immediately - or else they are tacitly endorsing this illegal maneuver which will have disastrous… pic.twitter.com/qbpNf9L3ln— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) December 20, 2023
As legal battles unfold, the Colorado ruling adds another layer to Donald Trump's post-presidential challenges. The unprecedented use of the 14th Amendment raises constitutional questions that could impact Trump's political trajectory.
While the decision is temporarily on hold, the controversy surrounding his eligibility continues, casting a shadow over his ambitions for a return to the White House.