Friday, July 12, 2024

The continued existence of former President Donald J. Trump’s 2024 campaign is currently being litigated in a Colorado courtroom. Voters in the state have filed a lawsuit arguing that Mr. Trump is ineligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment due to his actions before and during the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Similar oral arguments were heard in a Minnesota suit.

The Colorado lawsuit was filed in September by six Colorado voters, consisting of four Republicans and two independents, with the assistance of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. These voters claim that Mr. Trump’s presence on the Republican primary ballot in 2024 would harm them by taking support away from their preferred candidates. They also argue that if Mr. Trump were to win the nomination, they would be deprived of the ability to vote for a qualified candidate in the general election. They are demanding that the Colorado secretary of state not include Mr. Trump’s name on the ballot and are asking the court to rule that he is disqualified, eliminating any uncertainty.

The lawsuit specifically revolves around Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that a person cannot hold office if they have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States. The key questions in this case are whether the 14th Amendment applies to the presidency, whether Mr. Trump’s actions constitute engaging in insurrection or rebellion, and whether election officials or the courts can declare a person ineligible without specific action from Congress.

Throughout the trial, the plaintiffs’ lawyers have called witnesses such as police officers who were present at the Capitol during the attack, Representative Eric Swalwell, law professors, a deputy elections director, and the chief investigative counsel for the Jan. 6 committee. These witnesses testified about their observations and interpretations of events to support the plaintiffs’ claims.

On the other side, lawyers representing Mr. Trump have called witnesses including a former chief of staff at the Defense Department, a former spokeswoman for his campaign, an organizer of the Jan. 6 rally, a general counsel and chief of staff to a Republican representative, a treasurer of the Colorado Republican Party, Representative Ken Buck, and a law professor. These witnesses presented their perspectives, including testimonies about Mr. Trump’s authorization of National Guard troops, internal disagreements over rally speakers, the peaceful nature of the rally, and interpretations of historical documents related to insurrection.

The trial aims to determine Mr. Trump’s eligibility for the 2024 campaign as it relates to the 14th Amendment. Both sides have presented their arguments and evidence, and it is now up to the court to decide whether Mr. Trump should be disqualified.

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