DENVER — A Colorado judge on Friday ordered Secretary of State Jena Griswold to place Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the state's primary 2024 ballot, ruling that while Trump had engaged in insurrection related to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, it was unclear whether a Civil War-era amendment forbids those who "engaged in insurrection" from holding office applied to the presidency.
During a week-long hearing, the group of plaintiffs argued Trump should be disqualified from appearing on the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who has taken an oath of office from holding public office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States.
In her 102-page opinion, Judge Sarah B. Wallace argued that “part of the Court’s decision is its reluctance to embrace an interpretation which would disqualify a presidential candidate without a clear, unmistakable indication that such is the intent of Section Three.” She added, “As a result, the Court holds that Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to Trump.”
Griswold, who previously said she would await the judge's ruling as Colorado law was unclear on how to interpret the amendment in question, said in a late Friday statement she would ensure the right of every Colorado voter to have their voices heard in the upcoming presidential election.
“The Court determined that Donald Trump is eligible to be placed on the Colorado ballot in the March Presidential Primary. This decision may be appealed. As Secretary of State, I will always ensure that every voter can make their voice heard in free and fair elections," Griswold said.
Judges in Michigan and Minnesota previously ruled that Trump can remain on the ballot. Trump attorney, Scott Gessler, said the recent rulings demonstrate "an emerging consensus" that the courts should not deprive voters of the choice.
Colorado GOP Chairman Dave William hailed Friday's decision, saying his party "could not stand idly by as a lawsuit was filed to undermine our party’s nomination process by blocking President Donald J. Trump from appearing on the Colorado Republican Primary Ballot."
"But we still have a long road ahead of us," he wrote. "The crazy leftwing activists have promised to appeal all the way to the US Supreme Court. Please know we are doing everything in our power to ensure Colorado Republican voters can cast their vote for President Trump, or whoever else they choose, on the March 5th, 2024, Super Tuesday Presidential Primary.”
Wallace’s ruling was the third one this month against the 14th Amendment cases.