Efforts to block Trump from running using 14th Amendment falter

(NewsNation) — Efforts to block former President Donald Trump from running for the White House again in 2024 are being struck down by judges in several states.

A Colorado judge on Friday found that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol but rejected an effort to keep him off the state’s primary ballot because it’s unclear whether a Civil War-era Constitutional amendment barring insurrectionists from public office applies to the presidency.

The lawsuit, brought by a left-leaning group on behalf of a group of Republican and independent Colorado voters, contended that Trump’s actions related to the attack ran afoul of a clause in the 14th Amendment that prevents anyone from holding office who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution.

The decision by District Judge Sarah B. Wallace is the third ruling in a little over a week against lawsuits seeking to knock Trump off the ballot by citing Section 3 of the amendment. The Minnesota Supreme Court last week said Trump could remain on the primary ballot because political parties have sole choice over who appears.

A liberal activist group appealed a Michigan court’s decision on Thursday to throw out their case attempting to bar former President Trump from the presidential ballot, taking the case to the state Supreme Court.

Free Speech for People sued the state of Michigan in September, arguing that Trump’s involvement with the Jan. 6 Capitol riots violates the 14th Amendment, which should bar him from being eligible for office.

A lower court threw out the suit last month, arguing that a 14th Amendment challenge is not valid in the primary stage of an election. The appeal requests “emergency application” to bypass the usual state Appeals Court and go straight to the Supreme Court, given the short time until state primary ballots are finalized.

To Trump critics, it’s an open-and-shut case, though it’s worth noting that those who hold this view are mostly, but not exclusively, liberal.

The former president, critics say, encouraged the Capitol insurrection by his words and actions. Those include repeated, false claims of election fraud as well as his speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, in which he contended that people had to “fight like hell” to overturn the election result or “you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

In court, lawyers for Trump’s team have made multipronged arguments, including that his actions in and around Jan. 6 were protected by the First Amendment; that they did not, in any event, amount to supporting an insurrection; and that the courts should not be in the business of superseding the will of the voters.

Trump remains the decisive GOP frontrunner despite legal challenges to keep him off ballots.

A poll last week from Yahoo News/YouGov found Trump has a slight edge over the sitting president in a hypothetical rematch, leading Joe Biden 44% to 42%. However, the poll also found 9% of respondents were unsure who they would vote for, and another 5% said they were not planning to vote.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate This Hill contributed to this report.


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