Colorado’s Supreme Court has ruled former United States President Donald Trump is ineligible to run for the White House because of his role in the 2021 assault on the Capitol by his supporters and should be removed from the state’s primary ballot.
While the ruling only applies to Colorado, it marks the first time in US history that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars from public office anyone who “engaged in insurrection,” has been used to disqualify a presidential candidate and comes as courts in other states consider similar legal actions.
The one-time property tycoon and reality TV star faces a raft of court cases, from criminal charges over alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election to mishandling classified documents, hush money payments in the 2016 election and fraud in his business practices.
Trump has claimed he is the victim of political persecution.
A lower court earlier found that while Trump incited an insurrection for his role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, he could not be barred from the ballot because it was unclear that the 14th Amendment was intended to cover the presidency.
Noah Bookbinder of the campaign group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which brought the original case along with a group of Colorado voters, welcomed Tuesday’s higher court ruling.
The Colorado court placed its ruling on hold until January 4 or until the US Supreme Court rules on the case. State officials say the issue must be settled by January 5, the deadline for the state to print its presidential primary ballots. The Republican primary is due to take place in March.
Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said they would “swiftly file an appeal” to the Supreme Court, which has the final say on constitutional matters.
The Supreme Court at the federal level has a six-to-three conservative majority and includes three judges Trump appointed when he was president. Trump, who is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, faces dozens of lawsuits under Section 3, which was designed to keep former Confederates from returning to government after the Civil War.
The liberal group behind those cases, Free Speech For People, has also filed a lawsuit in Oregon seeking to remove Trump from the ballot there. Both groups are financed by liberal donors who also support President Biden, who is set to run for a second term in office. Trump has blamed the president for the lawsuits against him.