Colorado Judge Rules Trump Engaged in Insurrection, But Stays on 2024 Ballot

A Colorado judge has ruled that former President Donald Trump engaged in the January 6 insurrection, but narrowly decided not to remove him from the state’s 2024 ballot based on the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist ban.

In a surprising ruling, a Colorado judge has concluded that Donald Trump engaged in the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. While this ruling is a significant legal blow to the former president, the judge decided not to remove him from the state’s 2024 ballot. This decision brings attention to the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist ban and raises questions about its enforcement. Here are four key takeaways from this major ruling.

Trump Engaged in Insurrection, Judge Says

Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace determined that Trump actively primed his extremist supporters and incited political violence with the specific intent to disrupt the Electoral College certification of President Biden’s victory. This ruling marks the first time any court in the country has found that Trump engaged in the insurrection. The judge’s findings align closely with federal criminal charges filed against Trump for obstructing the Electoral College proceedings.

Judge Rejects Trump’s Free-Speech Defense

Judge Wallace thoroughly analyzed Trump’s incendiary speech at the Ellipse, rejecting his claims that it was protected speech under the First Amendment. She concluded that Trump’s speech was intended as a call to arms, inciting imminent lawless violence. By repeatedly urging the crowd to “fight” and “fight like hell,” and encouraging them to “take back our country” through “strength,” Trump implicitly encouraged the crowd to engage in unlawful actions.

The Ban Doesn’t Apply to Presidents

Despite the damning findings, Judge Wallace ruled that the constitution’s insurrectionist ban does not apply to presidents. The provision in question states that no person who engaged in insurrection after taking an oath to support the Constitution shall hold any office under the United States. However, it does not mention the presidency, and the presidential oath does not include the phrase “supporting” the Constitution. Therefore, the judge concluded that the ban does not extend to the president.

Vindication for January 6 Committee

Judge Wallace embraced key parts of the House January 6 committee report, considering it reliable and trustworthy evidence. This decision is crucial as the anti-Trump challengers used the panel’s findings as the foundation of their legal challenge. Despite Trump’s claims of bias against him, his lawyers failed to discredit the committee’s conclusions that he incited the insurrection and knew about the violence.

Conclusion: While the Colorado judge’s ruling that Trump engaged in the January 6 insurrection is a significant legal milestone, the decision not to remove him from the state’s 2024 ballot raises questions about the enforcement of the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist ban. As legal experts anticipate the Supreme Court’s involvement in the matter, this ruling could have implications for future challenges and accountability for the events of January 6.






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