A lawsuit to remove Donald Trump from Colorado’s 2024 presidential ballot kicked off Monday, the first of two cases arguing the former president rendered himself ineligible by engaging in insurrection.
A group of Colorado voters, all either Republican or unaffiliated, filed a petition in September to remove Trump from the Colorado ballot. They argue that his efforts to overturn the 2020 election should disqualify him under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. That section of the Constitution states that anyone who has taken an oath of office to the United States and then “engages in insurrection or rebellion” against the country is banned from holding public office again.
Opening arguments began Monday in a Denver courtroom. Judge Sarah B. Wallace gave each side 18 hours to lay out their entire arguments.
A lawyer for the petitioners, who are represented by the liberal organization Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington, or CREW, pointed to Trump’s violent and militaristic language just moments before an angry mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Trump “summoned and organized the mob,” said Eric Olson. “We are here because Trump claims, after all that, that he has the right to be president again.”
“But our Constitution, the shared charter of our nation, says he cannot do so.”
Trump’s lawyers also said that the petition was inappropriately asking the Colorado secretary of state to analyze a candidate’s conduct, instead of a more clear-cut eligibility requirement, such as age or citizenship.
Trump has been indicted twice for trying to overturn the election, once federally in Washington and again at the state level in Georgia. He has yet to be tried in either case, meaning there is no verdict that can definitively say whether or not he is guilty of engaging in insurrection or election interference.
The Colorado lawsuit is one of two that could reach the Supreme Court. A group of voters in Minnesota filed a lawsuit in September, just a week after the Colorado petition, to remove Trump from their state’s presidential ballot.