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Colorado Gets It Wrong By Kicking Trump Off Its Presidential Ballot

Among the dozens of states where Democrats are trying to bar Donald Trump from the presidential ballot, you knew there would be at least one that would manage to pull it off.

Colorado was always a fair bet.  Its Supreme Court is stacked with kind of progressive jurists who view the U.S. Constitution as an advisory document.  Fidelity to the law is strictly optional.  But mostly an inconvenience.

Sure enough, on Tuesday the “Centennial State” didn’t disappoint the oddsmakers.  By fiat, the state high court disqualified Trump from appearing on the primary ballot next year, marking the first time that has happened in a presidential contest since the 14th Amendment was adopted in 1868.

To accomplish this feat, the justices had to mangle Section 3 of that esteemed Amendment.  No problem.  Piece of cake.

The decision itself was a narrow one with a bare 4-3 majority.  Bear in mind that all members of the Colorado court were appointed by Democrat governors.  But at least three of them had the good sense to reject the majority’s tortured ruling.  They recognized that this is an illegitimate attempt to disenfranchise voters.

The decision will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court where it will likely be overturned because Colorado got it fundamentally wrong.

The Insurrection Clause in the 14th Amendment does not apply to the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.  The clause was intended to prevent Confederates who took up arms against the government during the Civil War from holding office.

Fast forward some 150 years and the fact pattern is incongruous.  Trump is not even accused of insurrection under the federal statute (18 USC 2383).  If evidence supported it, Special Counsel Jack Smith would surely have criminally charged him with it.

So, to remove Trump from the ballot arising from an offense for which he has not been tried or convicted constitutes a blatant violation of his procedural right to due process guaranteed by that very Amendment and elsewhere in the Constitution.

There’s another factor at play.  In past Supreme Court rulings involving different cases, the same language used in the insurrection clause (“officers of the United States”) does not apply to a President.  The word “officers” has a very precise meaning under law.  It necessarily excludes the President who holds the uniquely singular position in our government as Chief Executive.

Indeed, the Insurrection Clause spells out what “officers” can be prohibited —“Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President.”  The President is not enumerated.  He does not take an oath as an “officer” as others do, but a separate one.

Colorado officials are audaciously manipulating the Insurrection Clause for purely political reasons.  It is yet another example of election interference by Trump’s opponents —an effort to deprive American voters of their right to make the decision as to who should be President.

Under the guise of protecting democracy, the Colorado high court endorses something that is inherently anti-democratic.  It’s the equivalent of rigging the ballot box.  It will certainly be seen that way and have the reverse effect of inflaming voters while boosting support for the former president.

It’s also revealing that other states such as Michigan, Minnesota, Georgia, and New Hampshire rejected this devious maneuver to kick Trump off the ballot.  They correctly concluded that they do not have the power, in part, because the Amendment never spelled out how to enforce the Insurrection Clause, which is an unresolved flaw.

In our constitutional republic based on democratic principles the Framers intended that citizens choose our leaders by casting ballots.  Divesting them of this right by contorting the plain meaning of an Amendment is to undermine the very fabric of our nation.