Colorado Secretary Of State Says SCOTUS Shouldn’t Force State To Keep Trump On Ballot

Jena Griswold, Colorado’s secretary of state, on Wednesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm a decision by the state’s high court to remove Donald Trump from the ballot, citing the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case next week after justices decided to take up Trump’s appeal.

Griswold said Colorado’s Election Code is designed in such a way that allows the secretary and state courts to set qualifications for candidates to appear on the ballot.

“This, in turn, guarantees maximum enfranchisement because votes are not wasted on ineligible candidates,” she wrote in a brief.

Colorado’s Supreme Court in December ruled 4-3 that Trump was ineligible to run for the White House over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, siding with a group of Colorado Republican and unaffiliated voters who challenged his inclusion in the state’s presidential primary ballots, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The clause states that anyone who took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution but “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” it or gave “aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” should be barred from holding state or federal office.

Griswold called on the justices to affirm the court’s decision and “Colorado’s constitutional right to ensure that its ballots are free from such disqualified candidates.”

Griswold recognized the “extraordinary” historical significance of the case but defended the process by which Trump was found ineligible to run as standard.

“Over the decades, Colorado has repeatedly relied on this state court procedure to resolve ballot access and other election disputes presenting novel and complex issues of both fact and law, including issues of constitutional magnitude,” Griswold wrote.

She added: “Just as Colorado cannot be forced to place on its presidential primary ballot a naturalized citizen, a minor, or someone twice elected to the presidency, it also should not be forced to include a candidate found by its courts to have violated his oath to support the Constitution by engaging in insurrection.”

Griswold’s calls echo a brief filed by more than two dozen U.S. historians who urged the Supreme Court to side with Colorado.

Trump’s team has called the Colorado court ruling an “unAmerican, unconstitutional act of election interference which cannot stand.”

Colorado and Maine are the only states so far to take the decision to disqualify Trump from their state presidential primary ballots.

Earlier this week, the Illinois State Board of Elections chose to allow Trump to compete in the state’s presidential primary contest in a unanimous decision, which is likely to be appealed.

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