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Trump to argue Colorado Supreme Court devised removal from primary ballot

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Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – Lawyers for former President Donald Trump will argue the Colorado Supreme Court violated state regulations when it ruled he wasn't eligible for the March Republican presidential primary ballot, according to a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The legal team also repeated past arguments challenging the use of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment as the grounds for removing him from the ballot. They contend the president is not an “officer of the United States” and didn’t “engage in insurrection.” They also argue Section 3 of the 14th amendment can only be enforced by the U.S. Congress and can’t be used to deny Trump access to the ballot.

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The nation’s highest court agreed to hear an appeal of the state court earlier this month and scheduled oral arguments for February 8. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case triggered a stipulation in the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling that Trump be placed on the March 2024 presidential primary ballot.

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the lower court, all votes for Trump wouldn’t be counted, according to the Colorado Secretary of State.

In a 50-page brief filed Thursday, Trump’s legal team referred to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore after the 2000 presidential election. That decision found state legislatures have the authority to regulate federal elections, not the courts.

“The Colorado legislature allows the state judiciary to intervene in ballot disputes only when a person ‘charged with a duty’ under the Colorado Election Code ‘has committed or is about to commit a breach or neglect of duty or other wrongful act,’” the brief states. “Secretary (of State Jenna) Griswold will not breach or neglect any ‘duty’ or commit a ‘wrongful act’ under the 14th Amendment by listing President Trump on the ballot, because Section 3 merely bars individuals from holding office, not from seeking or winning election to office.”

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Donald Trump at the Pentagon 2017 - Public Domain

Trump’s lawyers argue the “Colorado Supreme Court tried to concoct a ‘wrongful act’” by claiming Griswold would violate state election law.

“That is not even remotely what the statute says, and the Court should reverse on this ground,” the lawyers wrote.

The regulation "requires only that participating political parties have at least one 'qualified candidate'” according to the brief.

Dozens of "friend of the court" or amicus briefs are being filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on the case. Griswold plans to enter a brief before the January 31 deadline.

“Donald Trump continues to argue that he shouldn’t face consequences for his involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol,” Griswold said in a statement Thursday. “The presidency should not be a get-out-of-jail-free card for engaging in insurrection. The American people deserve leaders who support and respect the language of the Constitution. I will be filing my office’s brief in response to Trump’s groundless contentions, and I look forward to oral arguments before the Supreme Court next month.”