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Updated Dec 19, 2023, 8:12pm EST
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Colorado Supreme Court rules Donald Trump is ineligible for 2024 ballot

Insights from Steve Vladeck, Joyce Vance, and Semafor

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Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Reno, Nevada, U.S. December 17, 2023.
REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo
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The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday disqualified former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s 2024 presidential ballot under the Constitution’s insurrection clause, a shock ruling that may have far-reaching implications for the Republican frontrunner.

The decision, which reversed an earlier ruling by a lower court in Colorado, was put on hold until Jan. 4 pending appeal. A spokesperson for the Trump campaign said it plans to appeal to the Supreme Court, calling the ruling a “deeply undemocratic decision.”

Activists have been pushing for Trump to be blocked from the 2024 ballot under the 14th Amendment, which says officials who “engaged in insurrection” are barred from holding office.

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It’s a ‘bombshell’ ruling, but not the final decision

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Sources:  
CBS, Politico, Steve Vladeck, Civil Discourse with Joyce Vance

The decision was seen as a shocking development — one election law expert told CBS it was a “bombshell” — because Colorado is the first state to say Trump can’t be on the ballot. But it’s highly unlikely the Colorado ruling will be the final decision on whether Trump is eligible to be president again. The ruling effectively forces the Supreme Court to take up the issue, according to law professor and SCOTUS expert Steve Vladeck. “It looks like the U.S. Supreme Court is going to be busy over the holidays,” former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance said.

Ruling puts 14th Amendment debate back in spotlight

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Sources:  
Semafor, NBC News

Both liberal and conservative groups have filed suits against Trump across the country under the 14th Amendment, but judges in Minnesota, Arizona, and Michigan recently dismissed such efforts in their states. “We would accept a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court,” litigator Ron Fein, who’s involved in the Minnesota case, told Semafor in September. “We’re not sure that Trump would.”

Whether Trump is disqualified from the ballot may hinge on whether the phrase “officers of the United States” in the insurrection clause can be applied to the presidency. A district court in Denver last month kept Trump on the ballot, saying that it did not apply; in reversing the decision, the Colorado Supreme Court disagreed, saying it was “so evidently an ‘office’".


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