US 2024 Presidency: What Does Trump’s Disqualification Ruling Mean?

US 2024 Presidency: What Does Trump’s Disqualification Ruling Mean?

  • Former U.S. President Donald Trump's shot at the presidency has hit rock bottom following a recent court verdict
  • The Colorado Supreme Court, the highest court in the U.S. state of Colorado, has sacked Trump from the ballot in the upcoming general election
  • However, Trump is expected to appeal the verdict at the Supreme Court in the first week of 2024

Colorado, USA - Colorado's Supreme Court made an unprecedented decision on Tuesday, December 19, disqualifying Donald Trump from the state's presidential primary ballot.

Based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which prohibits individuals involved in "insurrection or rebellion" from holding federal office, the ruling is subject to potential reversal before the November 2024 election.

The former US President has been sacked from the presidential ballot of 2024
Donald Trump is expected to appeal the ruling of the Colorado court in January 2024. Photo Credit: Brandon Bell
Source: Getty Images

The Colorado Supreme Court, with a slim majority, asserted that Trump's actions on January 6, 2021, during the Capitol attack by his supporters constituted insurrection.

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A prior lower court ruling acknowledged the insurrection but did not disqualify him, arguing that Section 3 doesn't apply to presidents.

Pending review by the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump plans to challenge the decision. The case introduces unprecedented legal issues related to Section 3, a post-Civil War amendment rarely tested.

While the outcome is still being determined, the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court, featuring three Trump appointees, raises questions about potential biases against judicial powers not explicitly grounded in legislation.

Colorado's 4-3 decision prompted concerns from dissenting justices, emphasizing that the majority's ruling deprived Trump of fundamental rights without proper due process.

They highlighted the absence of a jury conviction for insurrection, Trump's inability to subpoena records or compel witnesses, and the denial of fundamental rights typically granted to criminal defendants.

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Trump's reaction to court's ruling

The court ruling was labelled as "undemocratic" by Trump's campaign team.

As reported by Reuters, Trump's campaign spokesperson said:

"The Colorado Supreme Court issued a completely flawed decision tonight, and we will swiftly file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court."

He and his supporters have condemned disqualification proceedings in Colorado and various other states, characterising them as undemocratic manoeuvres orchestrated by his political adversaries in an alleged conspiracy to prevent him from assuming office.

Implication of court's ruling on 2024 US election

Even if the Supreme Court upholds the ruling, its impact on the November 2024 election might be negligible, as winning Colorado is not crucial for Trump, given its Democratic stronghold.

With nine electoral votes, Colorado played a minor role in the 2020 election, where Biden secured a victory with a significant margin of over 13 percentage points.

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While the decision in Colorado may not directly affect other states, Trump may face similar legal challenges in critical battlegrounds.

Although the Colorado ruling does not bind these states, judges will likely scrutinise it closely in forming their judgments. Trump has been subject to lawsuits in over 12 states, but at least seven have failed for various reasons.

Courts in Michigan, New Hampshire, and Florida dismissed cases based on procedural and jurisdictional grounds, asserting they lack the authority to disqualify candidates.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has also rejected a disqualification case, further shaping the legal landscape surrounding Trump's candidacy.

US Supreme Court is Trump's last hope for 2024 polls

The recent judgment stipulates that if Trump lodges an appeal with the US Supreme Court by January 4, which appears highly likely, the ruling will be put on hold until the highest court decides whether to hear the case.

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If the Supreme Court decides to take on the case, the pause that has seen Trump barred, as reported, will continue until it issues its final verdict.

It's noteworthy that January 4 is just one day before the Colorado state law mandates Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, to officially certify the list of candidates for the upcoming March 5 Republican presidential primary.

While Griswold has expressed her belief that Trump played a role in inciting the insurrection, she has not taken a stance on his eligibility under the 14th Amendment.

In a statement on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 on Tuesday, December 19, Griswold emphasised her commitment to adhering to the prevailing court decision.

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