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November 21, 2023 11:06 AM UTC

Donald J. Trump, Insurrectionist

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger reports that the Colorado Supreme Court has accepted the appeals from both sides and will hear the case early next month:


The ex-President.

A Denver District Court judge issued a ruling late Friday in the lawsuit filed by a group of Colorado unaffiliated and Republican voters seeking to throw ex-President Donald Trump off the 2024 Republican primary ballot under the 14th Amendment’s Insurrections Clause, presently getting its first due process workout since passage following the American Civil War to keep former Confederates out of office. In a split ruling, Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled against plaintiffs and ordered that Trump be placed on the ballot.

But as the Washington Post reports, even though Trump celebrated this ruling all weekend on social media and a rally in Iowa, there’s a YUGE caveat:

Denver District Judge Sarah B. Wallace’s ruling said that Trump’s conduct met the standard for disqualification under the 14th Amendment — that he “engaged in insurrection” — but that the amendment doesn’t apply to the president.

Wallace walked through the evidence for the first component of her finding in detail over 102 pages. She focused on the timeline of Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6, 2021 — which she said showed that Trump desired this outcome. And she documented his history of promoting and legitimizing political violence — which she said helps prove he incited the riot.

“The Court concludes that Trump acted with the specific intent to incite political violence and direct it at the Capitol with the purpose of disrupting the electoral certification,” Wallace wrote. [Pols emphasis]

Plaintiffs in the case filed their appeal yesterday to the Colorado Supreme Court of the adverse part of Judge Wallace’s ruling, but what could matter more in the long run is the detailed research backing up her opinion that Trump wilfully incited the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 with the goal of overturning the 2020 presidential election–the first such conclusive ruling by any court–which is now a part of the record to inform the other legal proceedings underway against Trump. If you for whatever reason didn’t fully trust the report of the January 6th Select Committee, here you have another copiously-sourced account of Trump’s personal role in the 2020 coup plot to reckon with.

As a result Trump’s attorneys led by former Secretary of State Scott Gessler have also appealed the case they supposedly won, obviously relieved with the ruling that Trump should be on the ballot but alarmed by the implications of the court’s finding that Trump engaged in insurrection:

The relatively narrow basis by which Trump was excluded from enforcement of the 14th Amendment in the ruling could conceivably be overturned on appeal, which would immediately make the finding by the court that Trump engaged in the behavior proscribed in the 14th Amendment the relevant consideration once again.

And that is why Trump’s legal team is appealing the ruling that Trump spent the whole weekend celebrating.


5 thoughts on “Donald J. Trump, Insurrectionist

  1. Colorado CREW 14th amendment case appeal update snippet 11/21/23 : 

    "Here are some key points from our just-filed appeal:

    • Page 7: “Based on a thorough review of the evidence and assessments of witness credibility, the district court found that the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol was an insurrection against the Constitution and that Trump engaged in that insurrection. Not only did the district court rule in favor of Petitioners on every factual issue necessary to disqualify Trump from the ballot, but it also found for Petitioners on every legal issue necessary to grant the Petition save for one.”
    • Page 3: “This holding was reversible error. The Constitution itself, historical context, and common sense, all make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s disqualification clause extends to the President and the Presidency."
    • Page 18: “We know that the Presidency is an ‘office . . . under the United States’ because the Constitution repeatedly says so. The Constitution refers to the President holding an ‘Office’ 25 times.”
    • Page 23: “The congressional debates over Section 3 likewise reveal a clear intent to cover the office of the Presidency.”
    • Page 39: “By the time the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, the phrase ‘officer of the United States’ was widely understood to include the President. This usage extends back to the founding, when George Washington was described as “the first executive officer of the United States.”  
    1. Briefing will be done by December 4th, oral argument at 1 pm on December 6th, and can be watched at the court's livestream page  

      Very little surprise that the state supreme court agreed to hear the case, as it's an appeal under Colorado statute 1-1-113, which grants jurisdiction in such election appeals to the supreme court.  The court of appeals has no jurisdiction in these types of cases, so unless the supreme court agrees to hear the case, there is no state appellate review.  

      Trump's counsel filed the appeal first, a few hours before the petitioners did.  A handful of amicus briefs have been/will be filed.  Argument will be worth a watch.  But after Thanksgiving.  

  2. If the Supreme Court of US decides that Presidents cannot be insurrectionists or held accountable for trying to dissolve or change constitution then "CIC" is indeed a King  above the law and we are screwed. 

    1. I'd really like legislation or Supreme Court rulings developing an inclusive statement on limits for the President.

       * what counts as a "high crime or misdemeanor" worthy of impeachment? Can it be behavior BEFORE taking office or AFTER being in office?  Must it only be actions after being sworn in and before a successor takes over?

       * should there be protections against criminal prosecutions while the President is serving?  if so, are statutes of limitation suspended, with the clock starting only when it is possible to prosecute? If the violation concerns the balance of power between the Congress and the President (such as the War Powers Act), violations of legal standards in treaties (Convention on Torture), or explicit campaign law violations (accepting foreign donations, forcing government staff to participate in political activity during time paid for by taxpayers), must prosecution wait until after the term is completed? What about Presidential Records Act? Can a President really declassify anything and everything?

       * must a President and the White House executive staff respond to subpoena documents from Congress or the Courts?

       * should there be a rethinking of what a President can do under the wide variety of laws granting "Emergency Powers"?  How about the President's powers to enforce (or not enforce) the Hatch Act?

       * what do the various Constitutional restrictions really mean?  Domestic Emoluments?  Foreign Emoluments? Pardon powers? Is the President subject to the 14th Amendment's disqualification? 


      I'm also going to ask Santa for peace in the Middle East, a commitment to feed children around the world, and a restriction on coaching salaries to no more than the University President is making.

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