Trump appeals Colorado 14th Amendment election disqualification to US Supreme Court

Colorado's Supreme Court had barred him from the state's GOP primary ballot.

January 4, 2024, 5:39 PM

Former President Donald Trump's legal team on Wednesday appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling disqualifying him from that state's GOP primary ballot.

In the 43-page filing, Trump's lawyers contend that "in our system of 'government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people,' Colorado’s ruling is not and cannot be correct."

"This Court should grant certiorari to consider this question of paramount importance, summarily reverse the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling, and return the right to vote for their candidate of choice to the voters," the appeal states.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump speaks during a commit to caucus rally, Dec. 19, 2023, in Waterloo, Iowa.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a commit to caucus rally, Dec. 19, 2023, in Waterloo, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall/AP

The Colorado Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on Dec. 19 marked the first time a challenge to Trump’s candidacy under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was successful.

In the split 4-3 decision, a majority of Colorado's seven justices said the former president was ineligible to appear on the state’s primary ballot in 2024 because he “engaged in insurrection” on Jan. 6, 2021.

"President Trump's direct and express efforts, over several months, exhorting his supporters to march to the Capitol to prevent what he falsely characterized as an alleged fraud on the people of this country were indisputably overt and voluntary," the justices wrote.

The Colorado justices stayed their ruling until Jan. 4, pending appeal. Last week, the Colorado Republican Party asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the state court’s opinion. The move put Trump back on the GOP primary ballot for now.

Trump's legal team says the questions presented in their filing are of the "utmost importance" given his status as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, and argue the Colorado decision "would unconstitutionally disenfranchise millions of voters in Colorado and likely be used as a template to disenfranchise tens of millions of voters nationwide."

Trump has also been barred from the primary ballot in Maine after Secretary of State Shenna Bellows last week upheld two 14th Amendment challenges to his candidacy. Trump’s team filed an appeal on Tuesday to Maine’s Superior Court, the state's top trial court.

The former president has won eligibility battles in Michigan, California and a dozen other states to remain on the ballot, though more 14th Amendment-related lawsuits are playing out across the country.

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump's 2024 campaign, in a statement Wednesday described the efforts to bar him from the ballot "an unAmerican, unconstitutional act of election interference that cannot stand."

"We urge a clear, summary rejection of the Colorado Supreme Court’s wrongful ruling and the execution of a free and fair election this November," Cheung said.

The plaintiffs in the Colorado 14th Amendment case, represented by CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), filed a response Thursday with the Supreme Court.

“The facts and the law are clear: Donald Trump is disqualified from holding office under the 14th Amendment after he incited the January 6th insurrection following his loss in the 2020 election. The Supreme Court of Colorado came to the right conclusion in favor of our clients, and the U.S. Supreme Court must now uphold it. In defending this decision, we are working to defend American democracy," Noah Bookbinder, president of CREW, said in a statement.

"We believe in the rule of law and have faith in the judicial system. The Supreme Court should take up this case quickly to ensure that Colorado Republican primary voters like our client–and all Americans–have confidence in the eligibility of the people on their ballots," he said.

ABC News' Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.