By Ryan Morgan
A Democratic congressman and 2024 presidential candidate has denounced the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision this week to order former President Donald Trump removed from ballots in the state after it concluded he engaged in disqualifying “insurrectionist” activity.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling relies on an interpretation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, known as the “disqualification clause,” which states that officials who have sworn oaths to uphold the Constitution who then engaged in an insurrection or rebellion are disqualified from holding office. The court ruled that President Trump’s efforts to challenge the 2020 election results—including speaking to crowds of supporters before the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and not doing enough, in their assessment, to dissuade demonstrators and rioters at the capitol that day—constitute disqualifying insurrectionist activity, even though President Trump has not been convicted of an underlying insurrection-related criminal offense.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who voted to impeach President Trump on allegations that he incited an insurrection on Jan. 6, said the 45th president still ought to actually be convicted of a specific crime before he can be subjected to disqualification from the ballot.
“Do I believe Trump is guilty of inspiring an insurrection and doing nothing to stop it? I was there. Absolutely,” Mr. Phillips wrote in a Wednesday post on the X platform formerly known as Twitter. “Do I believe it’s wrong to ban him from the ballot in Colorado without a conviction? Absolutely. Do I believe the SCOTUS must opine immediately? Absolutely.”
With his comments, Mr. Phillips joined several other 2024 presidential candidates who’ve denounced the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling, including President Trump’s remaining Republican primary opponents, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who initially ran as a Democrat before roadblocks from the Democratic National Committee and others prompted him to run as an independent.
Mr. Phillips’s calls for an actual criminal conviction as a prerequisite to disqualification from office under the 14th Amendment is in line with arguments made by President Trump’s legal team and his Republican and conservative defenders. The former president’s legal team argued before the Colorado high court that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is not self-executing and requires some form of conviction, and that Congress must further pass specific implementing legislation for the ballot disqualification to attach.
The majority on the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the disqualification provision in the 14th Amendment attaches without a specific act of Congress. The Colorado Supreme Court also ruled that the state’s court system had the authority to interpret what constitutes “insurrection” under the 14th Amendment, and that President Trump’s speech to supporters before the Capitol breach didn’t constitute First Amendment-protected free speech. The Colorado Supreme Court further ruled that the Trump team had enjoyed sufficient due process to challenge his disqualification before a Colorado District court, which had ruled in a civil proceeding by a “clear and convincing” standard of evidence that he had engaged in insurrection.
Fellow Democrat Expects SCOTUS Will Reverse Colorado Ruling
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who helped steer the effort to impeach President Trump after Jan. 6, 2021, cheered the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling, but predicted the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately overturn the ruling.
Speaking with The Washington Post on Wednesday, Mr. Raskin called the Colorado high court’s ruling a “great and meticulous opinion.” He said he also agreed with the Colorado court’s majority decision ruling that the Capitol breach and President Trump’s actions surrounding that event constituted an insurrection and that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is “self-executing” even without a more precise process set by Congress.
Still, Mr. Raskin said there are several ways the U.S. Supreme Court could ultimately side with President Trump.
“I would expect them to gather around the idea that this is not a fit matter for the courts to decide and it’s really up to Congress,” he told The Post. “I suspect that is where Trump’s supporters will congregate.”
In particular, Mr. Raskin notes a section at the end of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states “Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House” reverse a finding that a candidate is disqualified from office. Section 5 of the 14th Amendment further states, “The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” President Trump’s legal team pointed to this language to argue that the power for disqualifying a candidate under the 14th Amendment disqualification clause lies with Congress alone. Mr. Raskin said the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling refutes this interpretation but said the conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court “will undoubtedly argue that the two-thirds requirement for removing disqualification indicates that it’s within congressional control exclusively.”
From NTD News