Monday, May 27, 2024

The Colorado Republican Party said it had asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to hear an appeal of the bombshell decision from the Colorado Supreme Court ordering former President Donald J. Trump’s removal from the state’s primary ballot. The state court ruled that he was ineligible to hold office because he had engaged in insurrection.

The justices are likely to agree to hear the case, given the importance of the question it presents and the need for a nationwide answer to it.

The filing of the petition seeking review of the state court’s ruling also had a practical impact, extending a stay entered by the Colorado court while the justices consider the matter. That means Mr. Trump will remain on the primary ballot for now.

Mr. Trump is expected to file his own petition in the coming days. A lawyer for the former president declined to comment, and his campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The party’s petition said the U.S. Supreme Court’s intervention was urgent.

“Unless the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision is overturned, any voter will have the power to sue to disqualify any political candidate, in Colorado or in any other jurisdiction that follows its lead,” the petition said. “This will not only distort the 2024 presidential election but will also mire courts henceforth in political controversies over nebulous accusations of insurrection.”

The petition added that “the catastrophic effects of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision are already foreshadowed in pending and recently decided cases involving attempts to deny President Trump access to the 2024 ballot.”

The case concerns Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, adopted after the Civil War. It bars those who had taken an oath to support the Constitution from holding office if they then “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Congress can remove the prohibition, the provision says, but only by a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

By a 4-to-3 vote, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in December that the provision applied to Mr. Trump, making his ineligible for another term.

“We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” the majority wrote. “We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.”

The party’s petition made three main points: that Section 3 does not apply to the presidency, that only Congress can enforce it and that the state court’s decision violated the party’s First Amendment rights.

“The Republican Party has been irreparably harmed by the decision below,” the petition said. “The state has interfered in the primary election by unreasonably restricting the party’s ability to select its candidates.”

The petition added that the state court’s ruling was “based on a subjective claim of insurrection the state lacks any constitutional authority to make.”

In a statement, two of the party’s lawyers — Jay Sekulow and Jordan Sekulow — urged the justices to move quickly. “There is an avalanche of similar cases being filed around the country,” they said, “so the Supreme Court’s definitive and prompt review in this matter is essential.”

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