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Colorado brief shows why Trump should be off the ballot in 2024

Former federal judge J. Michael Luttig called the voters' appeal the "most compelling brief on a question of ... constitutional law that I have ever read."

By

Donald Trump won't be on the ballot in Colorado if the state’s Supreme Court — and then the U.S. Supreme Court — heeds the simple yet powerful observation that insurrectionists can’t be president.?

Among the arguments in their brief Monday to the state’s high court, lawyers for challengers to Trump’s eligibility made what they called the “common sense” point that “there would be no reason to allow Presidents who lead an insurrection to serve again while preventing low-level government workers who act as foot soldiers from doing so.”

You might wonder how anyone could disagree. But state judge Sarah Wallace's opinion last week found Trump engaged in insurrection but can still be president again. She reasoned that the constitutional provision at issue — Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — doesn’t cover presidents.?

The appeal from the challengers —?six voters — received a big endorsement from retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig, who called it “the most powerful, most compelling brief on a question of (profoundly important) constitutional law that I have ever read.”?

The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to take up the appeal for argument on Dec. 6, so we should get a better sense of where the case is going then. Importantly, while Wallace's factual findings are entitled to deference on appeal, her legal conclusion about the amendment’s application will get a fresh look from the state justices. In doing so, if they accept the voters’ argument — and otherwise leave Judge Wallace’s opinion undisturbed, as Trump simultaneously challenges the parts of her ruling that went against him — then Trump is off the ballot.

Of course, that wouldn’t be the last word, but such a ruling would provide an opportunity for the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and decide an issue that, with cases pending around the country, needs nationwide resolution.?

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