A Colorado judge has declined to dismiss a lawsuit that sought to prevent former President Donald Trump from being included on the 2024 presidential ballot in the state. The lawsuit accused Trump of participating in “insurrection” following the 2020 election.
CNN reported on Friday that Democratic Governor Jared Polis appointed Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace to the position. Wallace denied three separate attempts to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed by the Colorado GOP and Trump’s legal team, against the wishes of the Colorado GOP and the liberal watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
The lawsuit asserts that including Trump’s name on the ballot would be in violation of the 14th Amendment, which bars from office those who have participated in “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States.
Critics of the former president assert that the incursion into the Capitol on January 6, 2021, qualified as a “insurrection.”
Wallace stated in her 24-page ruling that the matter concerning Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s authority to remove Trump’s name from the ballot “is a pivotal issue and one best reserved for trial.”
Wallace additionally refuted the local GOP’s assertions that it possesses exclusive authority over the selection of candidates to appear on the ballot.
“If the Party, without any oversight, can choose its preferred candidate, then it could theoretically nominate anyone regardless of their age, citizenship, residency,” Wallace wrote.
“Such an interpretation is absurd; the Constitution and its requirements for eligibility are not suggestions, left to the political parties to determine at their sole discretion,” she continued.
The Trump campaign criticized the ruling, saying that Wallace had “got it wrong.”
“She is going against the clear weight of legal authority. We are confident the rule of law will prevail, and this decision will be reversed – whether at the Colorado Supreme Court, or at the U.S. Supreme Court,” a campaign representative said in a statement on Saturday, according to CNN.
“To keep the leading candidate for President of the United States off the ballot is simply wrong and un-American.”
Prior to being placed on the presidential ballot, Trump must first secure the Republican nomination. Polls, nonetheless, indicate that he commands a commanding lead over the rest of the GOP field. As of Monday, the RealClearPolitics polling average indicated that he was endorsed by 59.1 percent of the Republican voters who were surveyed, giving him a 46.3-point advantage over his closest competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Wallace has previously obstructed the Trump campaign’s efforts to have this particular lawsuit dismissed. Wallace wrote in her decision dated October 11 that she “found no difficulty in reaching the conclusion that it is in the best interest of the general public to have only constitutionally qualified candidates on the ballot, irrespective of political affiliation,” as CNN reported earlier this month.
As a result of the verdict, the case will advance to trial on October 30, setting up a legal confrontation regarding the merit of the obstruction of Trump’s progress.
Colorado was last won by a Republican in a presidential election in 2004, when George W. Bush defeated John Kerry by a margin of just over 100,000 ballots.
Already, the Supreme Court has declined to hear an independent petition to disqualify Trump from standing for president in its entirety.
According to CNN, that case was originally brought by Anthony Castro, a long-shot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, who similarly cited Trump’s “alleged provision of aid or comfort to the convicted criminals and insurrectionists that violently attacked our United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”
Despite the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case, a lower federal court had previously dismissed it on the grounds that Castro lacked standing to contest Trump’s eligibility to appear on the ballot.