Former President Donald Trump is banned from appearing on Colorado presidential election ballots after an unprecedented ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court issued Tuesday afternoon.
Colorado’s high court ruled in a 4-3 decision that because of Trump’s actions in relation to the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot that the former president “is disqualified from holding the office of president under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.”
Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray, who was endorsed by Trump in his 2022 campaign, issued a scathing response to the decision to Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.
“I am appalled by this outrageous, un-American ruling made by radical leftists in black robes,” Gray said. “It is a sad day in the history of our republic.”
The decision was made based on the state Supreme Court’s acceptance that the 14th Amendment disqualifies Trump for the Republican primary ballot for engaging in an insurrection against the U.S. Constitution.
A lower district court in Denver had already ruled in November that Trump did engage in an insurrection in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, but also stated that the 14th Amendment couldn’t be used to bar Trump from reelection or any attempt at the presidency.
The Supreme Court’s decision orders Colorado Secretary of State Democrat Jena Griswold to keep Trump off the state’s primary ballot in 2024. The court also prohibits Griswold from counting write-in votes for Trump.
“Because he is disqualified, it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code for the Secretary of State to list him as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot,” says the court decision.
Gray and two other secretaries of state submitted an amicus brief with the Colorado Supreme Court on the cast last month seeking to overturn the lower court’s determination that Trump is an “insurrectionist.”
“This is why I led an amicus brief filed with two other secretaries seeking to fight back against these radical attacks on our electoral process,” Gray said. “The radical left-wing media has attacked me for defending the truth. But I will continue to fight against this effort in order to protect the integrity of our elections to ensure that the people of Wyoming can choose who to elect for themselves.”
Over the past 15 years, Colorado has swung to the left politically, choosing Democrats for president in every election since former President Barack Obama’s election in 2008.
But what’s most significant about the state Supreme Court’s decision is that it will prevent Trump from being the state’s Republican nominee for president, taking away some votes and overall momentum away from his nomination campaign.
It could also set a legal precedent for courts in other states that are facing similar lawsuits to keep Trump off their ballots. Different dynamics are at play within the Republican primary race than the presidential race in that every state, including deeply Democratic hotbeds, are valuable to the Trump campaign.
A similar lawsuit was filed in Wyoming to remove Trump and Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis from future ballots.
Gray similarly opposes this lawsuit, submitting a motion to dismiss it and calling it “wrong and repugnant.”
“I have continuously been working to make sure that President Trump will be able to be on the ballot,” Gray said. “We must stop the radical left’s unAmerican and unconstitutional attempts to weaponize the 14th Amendment against President Trump.”
Colorado is the first court to find that the disqualification clause of the 14th Amendment applies to Trump under the assertion that he committed an insurrection for his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The ruling will almost certainly be challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Trump’s campaign indicated it will do just that shortly after the ruling came out. Gray said he urges the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the “outrageous and unprecedented decision.”
If the highest court agrees to hear the case, and it’s still in process when Colorado’s ballot certification deadline of Jan. 5, the state justices ordered that Trump’s name be included on the GOP primary ballot for March 5, ahead of the high court’s final decision.
Tuesday’s ruling applies only to Colorado, but if the U.S. Supreme Court were to affirm it, Trump could be disqualified more broadly from other states. The likelihood of that scenario is not high as the Supreme Court has a conservative majority of justices.
Conservative talk show host and attorney Clay Travis rebuffed the ruling and predicted the disqualification won't stand.
“This will get overturned by the Supreme Court, but it’s deeply clarifying how the people who claim to care so much about democracy are hell bent on not allowing Americans to vote for the candidate of their choice,” he wrote on X.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.