Trump 14th Amendment Disqualification Trial: What to Know About the Colorado Case

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By Ketrin Agustine

Trump 14th Amendment Disqualification Trial: What to Know About the Colorado Case

The lawsuit in Denver is one of several across the country arguing that former President Donald J. Trump is ineligible to hold office again.

The continued existence of former President Donald J. Trump’s 2024 campaign is being litigated this week in an unassuming courtroom in Colorado.

The trial stems from a lawsuit brought by voters in the state who argue that Mr. Trump is ineligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution because of his actions before and during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. And the Colorado disqualification case isn’t isolated. Oral arguments stemming from a similar suit, in Minnesota, are expected to begin on Thursday.

Here is a look at the Colorado case and beyond.

It was filed in September in a state district court in Denver by six Colorado voters — four Republicans and two independents — who are suing with the help of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

These voters argue that Mr. Trump’s presence on the Republican primary ballot next year would harm them by siphoning support from their preferred candidates and, if he won the nomination, by depriving them of the ability “to vote for a qualified candidate in the general election.”

They are demanding that the Colorado secretary of state not print Mr. Trump’s name on the ballot, and are asking the court to rule that Mr. Trump is disqualified in order to end any “uncertainty.”

The Colorado case specifically concerns Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which 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, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

The central questions are whether the 14th Amendment applies to the presidency; whether Mr. Trump’s behavior before and on Jan. 6 constitutes “engaging in insurrection or rebellion against” the Constitution; and whether election officials or the courts can deem a person ineligible under Section 3 without specific action by Congress identifying that person.


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