Trump asks the US Supreme Court to overturn the Colorado ruling that expelled him from the polls

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Donald Trump has formally asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn the ruling of the Colorado State Supreme Court which removed it from the 2024 state ballot under the “insurrection clause” of the 14th Amendment.

“In our system of ‘government of the people, by the people, [and] “For the people,” the Colorado ruling is not and cannot be correct,” the former president’s lawyers wrote in the court filing, to which CNN had access.

The Supreme Court faces increasing pressure to resolve the question of whether Trump, the front-runner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, can be disqualified from holding public office, as state courts and election officials have reached different conclusions in the whole country. The first contests of the 2024 primaries begin in a few weeks.

The high court participates separately in other issues that could impact the federal criminal case against the former president.

Trump’s appeal comes nearly a week after the Colorado Republican Party, which is also a party in the case, filed a separate appeal, and two weeks after Colorado’s ruling was issued. The ruling has been put on hold while appeals play out, and Colorado’s top elections official has already made clear that Trump’s name will be included on the state’s primary ballot when it is certified on Jan. 5, unless the Supreme Court of The United States says otherwise.

But the high court is unlikely to resolve the case as quickly as it did this week. If the justices take the case and conclude that Trump is ineligible for public office, then votes cast in his favor would not count. The state’s primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday on March 5.

Eric Olson, one of the Colorado lawyers arguing against Trump’s eligibility, said on CNN’s “The Source” that he hopes the Supreme Court will take up the case and is “optimistic” that the justices will see that ” “There really is no closed solution.” case here.”

“I think this court has shown a willingness to step away from a sort of partisan framework on these difficult issues that are important to our democracy,” Olson said.

Trump’s legal team argues that the “question of eligibility” for the presidency should be determined by Congress, not the states, and that the Colorado Supreme Court was wrong to rule that an insurrection occurred on January 6, 2021 and that the former president “engaged” in the insurrection.

He impressive 4-3 decision issued by the Colorado Supreme Court on December 19 said Trump is constitutionally ineligible to run in 2024 because the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists holding public office covers his conduct on January 6, 2021.

“President Trump incited and encouraged the use of violence and unlawful actions to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” the Colorado justices wrote in their 134-page majority opinion.

“The Colorado Supreme Court erred in describing President Trump’s role in the events of January 6, 2021,” Trump’s filing on Wednesday said. “It was not an ‘insurrection’ and President Trump in no way ‘engaged’ in an ‘insurrection.’”

Trump’s lawyers also argued before the justices that the Constitution’s so-called insurrection ban does not apply to the presidency.

“Thus, to find that section 3 includes the presidency, one must conclude that the framers decided to bury the most visible and prominent national office in a general mandate that includes low-ranking military officers, while also choosing to explicitly reference presidential electors. presentation states. “This reading defies common sense and is not correct.”

“The text and structure of the Constitution make clear that the president is not an ‘official of the United States,'” they added.

A lower court judge in Colorado had initially said the ban does not apply to the presidency, but the state Supreme Court’s decision overturned that ruling. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says that oath-breaking insurrectionists cannot serve as senators, representatives, presidential electors, “or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States or under any state.” But he doesn’t mention the presidency.

Trump’s lawyers also argued that barring him from Colorado’s primary election, “if he is allowed to run, will mark the first time in American history that the judiciary has prevented voters from casting their ballots for the leading candidate.” presidential of the main party.” ”

Among their concerns with the lower court ruling, Trump’s lawyers said the Colorado Supreme Court “flatly dismissed President Trump’s argument that Section 3 prohibits people only from holding public office, and not from running for or being elected.” for public office.”

Trump’s lawyers also maintain that Colorado law does not require — or allow — a secretary of state or courts to “purge” candidates from primary ballots “based on their own assessments of a candidate’s qualifications.”

Despite the violence that occurred on January 6, 2021, and court findings that Trump’s incendiary speech that day at the Ellipse inspired some of his supporters to participate in the attack, Trump argued in his petition to the judges that the speech called for peaceful protests and included the full transcript of the speech in his presentation.

“President Trump never told his supporters to enter the Capitol, neither in his speech on the Ellipse nor in any of his statements or communications before or during the events at the Capitol. On the contrary, his only explicit instructions called to protest “peacefully and patriotically,” to “support our Capitol Police and law enforcement,” to “[s]remain at peace’ and ‘remain at peace,’” his lawyers wrote.

Trump has unsuccessfully pushed this argument in state and federal courts, which found that he incited violence when he told his supporters to “walk to the Capitol” and “fight like hell” to “take back our country.”

in a appendix filed with the court, Trump’s lawyers included the full text of his speech.

Although the Colorado ruling only applies to that state, a possible decision by the U.S. Supreme Court could resolve the issue for the entire nation. Courts in several other states have also reviewed challenges to Trump’s eligibility, although no such case went as far as the one in Colorado.

Last week, Maine’s secretary of state removed Trump from that state’s 2024 primary ballot, and on Tuesday the former president’s team appealed that decision in state court.

And the Oregon Supreme Court could soon rule on an attempt to remove Trump from that state’s primary and general elections because of his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

A group of Republican and independent voters filed the lawsuit in Colorado, in coordination with a liberal government watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

They told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that they also want the justices to make the final decision.

“This Court’s established precedent holds that the Constitution grants no right to confuse voters and pack the ballot with candidates who are ineligible to hold the office they seek,” voters wrote in the presentation. They asked the justices to focus on two specific questions: whether Trump is disqualified from running for office and whether states can enforce the 14th Amendment clause in the absence of federal legislation.

“Whether the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits a former president (and current presidential primary front-runner) who participated in an insurrection against the Constitution from ever holding office is a question of utmost national importance,” they said in the document. “With the 2024 presidential primary election imminent, there is no time or need to let these issues percolate further.”

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold Similarly, on Tuesday he asked the justices to answer whether Trump can be removed from the ballot and provided them with a timeline of impending election deadlines that his office must meet.

Griswold said Wednesday that the Trump legal team’s argument “makes no sense.”

“A president, the person who arguably has the most power in this country, should not be able to take that kind of action and run again, when any other elected official would be prohibited from doing so,” Griswold told CNN’s Abby Phillip on “NewsNight.” ”And she added that the Supreme Court “should tell the American people whether a president can participate in an insurrection and then run for office again.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Piper Hudspeth Blackburn and Kaanita Iyer contributed to this report.

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