DENVER (LifeSiteNews) — A 14th amendment trial kicked off this week in Colorado to decide whether to remove former U.S. President Donald Trump’s name from the 2024 general election ballot in the state. Trump has blasted the lawsuit, which may go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, as an attempt at “election interference.”
On Monday, attorneys argued in court over whether Trump — who maintains a commanding lead over his remaining GOP rivals as the presidential election nears — ought to be considered ineligible to run for the nation’s highest office due to objecting to the reported results of the 2020 election and allegedly fomenting an “insurrection” on January 6, 2021.
The trial comes after anti-Trump Washington, D.C.-based group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of six Colorado voters, including former officials at the federal, state and local levels, in a bid to keep Trump off the ballot in the Centennial State.
CREW alleges that, “Under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, Donald Trump is disqualified from holding office because of his attacks on the 2020 election and incitement of the January 6th insurrection.”
The section in question was written in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War and was adopted in 1868. It bars from higher office anyone who swore an oath “to support the Constitution of the United States” and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion … or given aid or comfort to the enemies” of the nation.
On Monday, attorney Eric Olson claimed that Trump had “summoned and organized the mob” at the Save America Rally at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and that the Constitution therefore precludes him from holding political office, the Associated Press reported.
But in his opening argument, Gessler argued the lawsuit is an “anti-Democratic” effort to strip Coloradans of their ability to vote for Trump and thus ultimately amounts to election interference, according to Colorado Public Radio (CPR).
He further argued that Trump’s words to rally-goers do not satisfy the criteria laid out in the 14th amendment, noting that “the term ‘engaged’” as found in the amendment “means to do something,” and does not “mean mere incitement with words.” He also stressed that Trump routinely called for the protesters to be peaceful.
Denver District Court Judge Sarah Wallace, who was appointed by the state’s Democratic Gov. Jared Polis earlier this year, is presiding over the trial.
On Thursday, Wallace rejected an effort by Trump to toss out the lawsuit, which Trump has called an effort at “election interference” akin to what happens in “a banana republic.”
On Friday, Trump attorney Scott Gessler asked Wallace to recuse herself over her donation to the Colorado Turnout Project, which states that it was founded “after Colorado Republicans refused to condemn the political extremists who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021” and “aims to prevent violent insurrections by addressing this problem at its source … ”
“A contribution to the Colorado Turnout Project shows support for the view that January 6, 2021, constituted an ‘insurrection,’” Gessler argued, according to Colorado Politics.
Judge Wallace refused Gessler’s request to recuse herself, prompting displeasure from Trump’s camp.
“Judge Wallace just a year ago donated to the Colorado Turnout Project … a lefty group with this single goal of keeping Republicans off the ballot,” fellow Trump attorney Jason Miller said. “How the h*ll do you get a fair hearing or failed trial with a judge who’s donated to the Colorado Turnout Project?”
Meanwhile, Colorado isn’t the only state in which efforts are underway to remove Trump’s name from the ballot in 2024.
The Minnesota Supreme Court is also slated to hear arguments in a separate lawsuit to scrub Trump from the list of presidential candidates available to voters.
NBC reported that additional efforts have cropped up in Arizona, New Hampshire, and Michigan to disqualify the former U.S. president.
The news comes as Trump continues to significantly outpace his GOP competitors as the next presidential election looms closer, despite battling the efforts to disqualify him from the race entirely as well as four separate indictments.