On Friday, a Colorado judge allowed a lawsuit seeking to use the 14th Amendment to keep President Donald Trump off the state’s 2024 ballot to proceed. This lawsuit, filed in September, represents a disturbing trend of political opponents manipulating the plain meaning of the Constitution for partisan gain.
The lawsuit, filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on behalf of six voters, four Republicans and two unaffiliated, aims to disqualify Trump based on his alleged involvement in the January 6th Capitol protests. The plaintiffs argue that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that no person shall hold any office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after taking an oath to support the Constitution, applies to Trump.
Colorado judge rejects latest Trump attempt to throw out lawsuit over 14th Amendment https://t.co/a6ItHzOtIu
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) October 27, 2023
Judge Sarah Wallace’s ruling comes as a shock to many. In her 24-page ruling, Wallace rejected Trump’s argument that matters of ballot eligibility are limited to Congress, not the courts, and that state election officials cannot invoke Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Wallace wrote, “The Court holds that states can, and have, applied Section 3 pursuant to state statutes without federal enforcement legislation.”
The question that arises, however, is whether Trump’s actions fall within the definition of “insurrection or rebellion.” Legal scholars and lawmakers are divided on this issue, with many objective experts arguing that Trump’s actions do not meet the threshold for disqualification under the 14th Amendment.
Trump’s legal team had argued that the issue of ballot eligibility should be left to Congress and that the First Amendment protects Trump’s right to free speech. In October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a separate case seeking to use the 14th Amendment to bar Trump from the presidential ballot.
This lawsuit represents an attempt to distort the plain meaning of the 14th Amendment for political ends. The 14th Amendment was designed to prevent those who had engaged in actual rebellion against the United States from holding office, not to be used as a political tool to disqualify opponents based on partisan disagreements.
The trial, set to start on October 30, will be a crucial test of the integrity of our Constitution and the rule of law. If the court allows this manipulation of the 14th Amendment to proceed, it will set a dangerous precedent that could be used to disqualify any political candidate based on the whims of their opponents. This is not what the framers of our Constitution intended, and we must not allow it to happen.
Similar ongoing cases in Minnesota and Michigan, which are also seeking to use the 14th Amendment to keep Trump off the ballot, will be closely watched as they could further shape the legal landscape surrounding this issue.
It is important to remember that the Constitution is not a tool to be used for partisan gain. It is the foundation of our democracy and must be respected and protected. The attempt to use the 14th Amendment to disqualify Trump is a clear example of how some are willing to distort the Constitution for political ends, and it should be resisted at every turn.