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U.S. Supreme Court review of Trump ballot ban supported by successful Colorado plaintiffs

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Chase Woodruff

(Colorado Newsline) The plaintiffs who persuaded a majority of the Colorado Supreme Court to block former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot under a Civil War-era insurrection clause urged the U.S. Supreme Court to promptly weigh in on the case in a new filing.

The 33-page brief from the attorneys representing six Colorado Republican and unaffiliated voters was filed with the nation’s highest court Tuesday. It followed the Colorado Republican Party’s petition last week for a so-called writ of certiorari, a formal order the Supreme Court issues when it agrees to review a case.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs, who are backed by the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, wrote that with primary election deadlines looming, the court should take up the case on an “expedited timetable.”

PROMO 64 Law - Memebers of the Supreme Court of the United States 2022 - WIkimedia - Public Domain

Memebers of the Supreme Court of the United States 2022 - WIkimedia - Public Domain

“Although the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision was correct and implicates no split of authority, this Court should nevertheless grant certiorari,” the brief said. “This case is of utmost national importance. And given the upcoming presidential primary schedule, there is no time to wait for the issues to percolate further.”

A U.S. Supreme Court review has been widely expected in the wake of the Colorado Supreme Court’s seismic December 19 ruling, which held that Trump’s actions in relation to the Jan. 6 insurrection disqualify him from office under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Section 3 of the amendment prohibits a person who took an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” from holding office again.

The court stayed its decision pending a likely U.S. Supreme Court appeal, meaning that Trump’s name will still appear on GOP primary ballots if the court agrees to review the case before the January 5 ballot certification deadline, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has said.

Following the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling, Maine became the second state to disqualify Trump from the ballot under Section 3 when Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows issued a ruling to that effect December 28.

The Colorado Republican Party appealed the Colorado case to the U.S. Supreme Court the same day, writing in a petition that “voters have been denied the ability to choose their Chief Executive through the electoral process.” A separate appeal from attorneys representing Trump is expected soon.

The plaintiffs’ Tuesday filing calls the Colorado lawsuit an “ideal vehicle” for the court to settle questions about Trump’s constitutional eligibility under Section 3.

“Today’s brief underscores that Section 3 applies to former presidents, that our clients had the right to bring this challenge under Colorado state law and that the First Amendment does not allow a state party to list disqualified candidates on the ballot,” CREW president Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “It is crucial that the Supreme Court take up and review this case quickly so that Coloradans and the American public have complete clarity on Donald Trump’s eligibility before casting their ballots.”

The brief asks the court to grant review of the case by Friday and to issue a ruling by February 11. The presidential primary election in Colorado will occur March 5.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.