Trump disqualified from presidency: Is Colorado Supreme Court right?


Fact Box

  • On December 20, 2023, former President Trump was ruled “disqualified from holding the office of president under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment” by the Colorado Supreme Court citing Trump’s alleged incitement of the Jan. 6 incident. 
  • Trump called the ruling “undemocratic” and vowed to file an appeal to the US Supreme Court. A lower court judge asserted that the amendment did not apply to the office of president, and therefore, had no ground.
  • According to a 538 December 2023 poll, Trump had a favorability rating of 42% and an unfavourability rating of 52.7%. 
  • The January 6, 2021 US Capitol attack is widely regarded as an insurrection due to the disruption of the Congressional session that determined the results of the 2020 presidential election. Several deaths followed the Capitol riot, with only one Trump supporter, Ashley Babbit, being shot on site by a Capitol officer. Damages to the Capitol building estimated to be $1.5 million.

Curtice (No)

Democrats have been claiming for years that Trump is a 'threat to democracy.' Yet, the decision by the Colorado Supreme Court has to be considered the most anti-democratic move in decades. Although the court is made up entirely of Democratic appointees, three of the seven justices availed some level of common sense in their dissent.

Democracy is not advanced when a major party's presumptive nominee is removed from the ballot. The court used Section 3 of the 14th Amendment as justification. The supposed relevant cited section says, 'no person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States' who has 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.' This section was written shortly after the Civil War’s end to keep former Confederate officials from serving in the United States government. Likewise, no federal court has found, nor has the Justice Department ever alleged, that Trump is guilty of anything remotely close to insurrection or rebellion. 

January 6 may have been many things, but an insurrection isn't one. This decision is unlikely to stand, but if it does, lawsuits against other politicians could certainly follow. For example, was Kamala Harris inciting insurrection when she advocated for people to contribute to a fund for bail money for BLM rioters in 2020? One could make that argument based on the Colorado Supreme Court's logic. Voters should ultimately decide who is elected president, not having their choices limited by unelected judges. One of the hallmarks of a banana republic is that whoever is in power gets to set the rules. Colorado’s decision shows that America is very close to that if it isn't already there.

Rob (Yes)

The Colorado State Supreme Court's decision to disqualify Donald Trump from running for office stands on solid constitutional grounds, according to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling demonstrated the court's unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law. It also reinforces the fundamental principle that no individual, regardless of their political status or prominence, is exempt from legal consequences of any actions that violate the principles of the Constitution—even a former president. Donald Trump should understand this better than anyone else, having lobbied for Ted Cruz's disqualification in Iowa in 2016 for alleged cheating.

This decision, whether upheld by the Supreme Court or not, establishes a crucial precedent for holding influential political figures accountable for actions that directly or indirectly undermine the power of the Constitution. Donald Trump, having taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, engaged in inciting a violent insurrection at the Capitol in an attempt to stall the final electoral count of Biden's win of the presidency, rendering him unfit for the presidential office—something the Constitution is stunningly clear about

Contrary to claims of this being an attack on democracy, the court's action does, in actuality, safeguard democratic principles. Preserving the integrity of the Constitution is synonymous with protecting the very foundation of the nation's democracy. The court should be allowed to work independently and free from external politics and timing since the process is based on the Constitution rather than political sentiment. Thus, the upcoming election is irrelevant in the ruling and is entirely based on the court's responsibility to follow and uphold the Constitution. It is good Colorado's highest court has done so.

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