Colorado appeal would be third state Supreme Court ruling on Trump's ballot appearance

A group’s pledge to appeal a Colorado court ruling will likely lead to a third state Supreme Court ruling on whether former President Donald Trump can appear on a Republican presidential primary ballot.

The left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington stated it would appeal Colorado District Court Judge Sarah Wallace’s Friday ruling stating the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t provide for the removal of Trump from the ballot. Trump’s legal team argued “the conduct at the core of this case is pure speech, and as such, is afforded robust protections under the First Amendment,” Judge Wallace wrote in a 102-page ruling.

“When we filed this case, we knew it likely would not end at the district court level,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “We will be filing an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court shortly. Today was not the end of this effort, but another step along the way.”

Six Republican and unaffiliated Colorado voters filed the lawsuit against Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold in September, attempting to prohibit Trump from appearing on the March 5 presidential primary ballot in the state.

“This decision may be appealed,” Griswold said in a statement. “As Secretary of State, I will always ensure that every voter can make their voice heard in free and fair elections.”

In Michigan, a judge ruled in favor of Trump earlier this month as the group, Free Speech for People, argued in a lawsuit the former president’s involvement in the violent events on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol violated the 14th amendment. The group hopes to bypass arguing the case at the Appeals Court and go directly to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a case attempting to remove Trump from the primary ballot and ruled the state doesn't have the authority to prevent the Republican Party from having Trump on the ballot.

In Colorado, Judge Wallace noted Trump didn’t “put forth any credible evidence or expert testimony … to rebut the argument that Trump intended to incite violence.” Judge Wallace wrote Trump’s speech on Jan. 6 “incited imminent lawless violence.” However, “inciting” action isn’t the same as “engagement,” the term found in the 14th amendment.

“Intervenors’ position that ‘engage’ requires more than incitement, therefore, undermines a significant purpose of the disqualification, and as such the Court cannot favor this interpretation,” Wallace wrote.

Steven Cheung, a Trump spokesperson, said Wallace’s ruling is another defeat of those attempting to interfere with the upcoming presidential election.

“The American voter has a Constitutional right to vote for the candidate of their choosing …” Cheung said in a statement. “This right was correctly preserved in Colorado today and we urge the swift disposal of any and all remaining Democrat ballot challenges.”


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