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In a historic but probably unlikely lawsuit that could prevent former President Donald Trump from running for office in Colorado in 2024, a trial to decide whether the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban” applies to him is scheduled to start in Denver on Monday.

The complaint was brought in early September by six unaffiliated and Republican voters in Colorado, supported by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, a liberal watchdog group. They contend that owing of his involvement in the uprising on January 6, 2021, Trump is ineligible to hold office again.

Defying predictions, the challengers have won a string of pretrial victories, turning back multiple moves to dismiss the case made by Trump and the Colorado GOP.Colorado District Court’s bench trial is expected to go for at least a week. Trump is not anticipated to be present. Regarding January 6, he disputes any misconduct, and his campaign claimed the opponents are “stretching the law beyond recognition.”It’s the initial domino to come down. “This is the most challenging process we’ve ever seen for a presidential candidate—day-long hearings to determine their eligibility,” said Notre Dame Law School election law expert Derek Muller, who filed a brief in a related case that addressed important legal issues but refrained from ruling out Trump.

Muller continued, “It’s not a frivolous lawsuit, but it’s not a slam dunk either.”

What does the 14th Amendment say?

Following the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was enacted, which states that US officials who swear to preserve the Constitution and who have “engaged in insurrection” or “given aid or comfort” to insurrectionists are ineligible to hold office in the future.The restriction has only been utilized twice since the 1800s, against former Confederates, and the Constitution does not specify how it is to be enforced.

“No person shall… hold any office… under the United States… who, having previously taken an oath… 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,” reads a portion of Section 3, the amendment’s main clause.

What is the trial about?

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold was sued by the challengers. They seek a court injunction to prevent Griswold from listing Trump’s name on the Republican primary and general election ballots in Colorado. Griswold, a Democrat, has stated that she will follow the judge’s instructions and has not stated whether or not she believes Trump is unqualified.

Judge Sarah Wallace of Colorado had outlined some of the major issues that would be decided at trial.

  • What do the terms “insurrection” and. “engaged” mean?
  • Did Trump participate in a rebellion?
    Can a candidate be disqualified by the so-called insurrectionist ban, or does Congress have to act first?
  • Does Colorado law give Griswold the authority to remove a candidate from the ballot on the grounds of federal constitutionality?
  • Is it solely for other authorities, or does it also apply to US presidents?

How is Trump responding?

During his campaign rallies, Trump has made fun of the case. His counsel and attorneys have contended that excluding the former president from the ballot would be “un-American” and rob voters of the chance to determine whether or not he should run for office again.

Trump made unsuccessful attempts to have the lawsuit dismissed by claiming that it infringed his free speech rights, that it created a “political question” that only Congress could answer, and that the case misread Colorado’s ballot access regulations.

In a court statement last week, Trump’s attorneys stated, “This is a political lawsuit meant to prevent President Trump from standing for election and to block Colorado voters from having the opportunity to vote for him.”They continued, saying that there is no legal foundation in Colorado for a presidential candidate to be excluded under the Fourteenth Amendment. Furthermore, on January 6, 2021, President Trump never supported or encouraged violence.

Why is this happening now?

In September, CREW filed a lawsuit seeking an accelerated resolution to the conflict in order to have it resolved before Super Tuesday, March 5, Colorado’s GOP primary.

Wallace has stated that she intends to rule by Thanksgiving to give Colorado’s appeals courts the time to consider the case and render a verdict.

According to Griswold, there is a “hard deadline” of January 5 for the case’s outcome. By then, her agency must certify each candidate’s name that will appear on the March 5 primary ballot.

What’s the big picture?

This is just one of many lawsuits to take Trump off the ballot that are being filed in battleground states. Challenges have been filed in Minnesota and Michigan by other advocacy groups.

Numerous plaintiffs are Republicans, despite the lawsuits’ liberal-leaning organizations. Norma Anderson, a Republican and former state politician who held the position of majority leader in the Colorado House and Senate, is the primary plaintiff in this case.

A rising number of constitutional scholars, including several well-known conservative jurists and legal specialists, have embraced the challengers’ case against Trump.

However, given the constitutional difficulties, there are still significant differences about how the 14th Amendment may be applied to Trump and how the ban would even be put into effect, whether by election officials, Congress, or a court. Many believe that in the end, the conservative supermajority of the Supreme Court will have some say in the matter.

Has this ever occurred before?

There hasn’t been a case like this in history, though no US president has ever tried to overturn an election, like Trump did. It would be unprecedented to apply the 14th Amendment “insurrectionist ban” to any presidential candidate, let alone the clear front-runner for a major party nomination, as Trump is leading in the GOP polls.

The ban has been applied only once in the modern era – and CREW was behind that successful effort.

A convicted January 6 rioter who was also a New Mexico county commissioner was removed from office last year on 14th Amendment grounds through a different but related legal mechanism, after CREW filed a lawsuit.

In one instance, the official was previously found guilty of an offense connected to January 6. Trump entered a not guilty plea and is not yet on trial despite being charged on both state and federal levels in connection with the Capitol incident and his plans to rig the 2020 election.

Who is the Colorado judge?

Jared Polis, the Democratic governor of Colorado, elevated Wallace to the bench last year. He said Wallace will take over a position that became vacant in January of this year.She had previously held the position of partner at the sizable legal firm Ballard Spahr, where she focused on employment law, commercial litigation, and cases involving contract breaches.In 1999, she received her law degree from the University of Colorado.

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