Trump 2024 Ballot Ban Will ‘Unleash Chaos, Bedlam,’ Lawyers Say

Trump 2024 Ballot Ban Will 'Unleash Chaos, Bedlam,’ Lawyers Say

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Nothing that President Trump did even remotely qualifies as insurrection, his attorneys argue

Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that removed him from the state’s ballot, arguing that other states are following suit with similar legal challenges and that preventing Americans from being able to vote for him in the 2024 Republican primary would “unleash chaos and bedlam.”

President Trump’s attorneys made their request in an opening brief filed with the court on Jan. 18 ahead of oral arguments scheduled to take place before the justices on Feb. 8.

Those oral arguments come after the Colorado court, which is composed entirely of Democrat appointees, determined in its 4–3 ruling in December that the 45th president had engaged in insurrection during the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol and is thus not eligible to run for president.

That ruling marked the first time the Constitution’s “insurrection clause” has been used to remove a presidential candidate from the ballot.

Lawyers for President Trump noted in Thursday’s filing that efforts are underway in more than 30 states to remove their client from primary and general election ballots based on an interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause” which bars officials who have engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” from holding office.

“The Court should put a swift and decisive end to these ballot-disqualification efforts, which threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans and which promise to unleash chaos and bedlam if other state courts and state officials follow Colorado’s lead and exclude the likely Republican presidential nominee from their ballots,” they wrote.

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President Trump’s legal team took aim at the ruling by Colorado’s top court, arguing that it is “based on a dubious interpretation” of the 14th Amendment under the Constitution.

Trump ‘Not an Officer of the United States’

Specifically, the law disqualifies those who took an oath of office “as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State” and subsequently “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States from membership in Congress or the Electoral College or holding any federal or state office, “civil or military.”

President Trump’s lawyers noted the language in the clause; arguing their client is not an “officer of the United States” and did not engage in insurrection.

They further noted he has not been convicted or even formally accused of insurrection under the 14th Amendment.

“The Court should reverse the Colorado decision because President Trump is not even subject to section 3, as the President is not an ‘officer of the United States’ under the Constitution. And even if President Trump were subject to section 3 he did not ‘engage in’ anything that qualifies as ‘insurrection,” his lawyers wrote.

The brief further argues that “nothing in Colorado’s election code requires the secretary of state to evaluate the qualifications of presidential primary candidates” and that the secretary of state also had “no duty” to “verify or second guess the candidate’s sworn representations, or to exclude presidential candidates from the ballot if the secretary disbelieves or disagrees with the candidate’s sworn representations.”

Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 15, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 15, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

GOP Lawmakers Back Trump

Elsewhere in the brief filed on Thursday, the Republican Presidential candidate’s lawyers denied claims that he engaged in insurrection during the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, stating that he had instead “repeatedly called for peace, patriotism, and law and order.”

“Nothing that President Trump did in response to the 2020 election or on January 6, 2021, even remotely qualifies as ‘insurrection’” his attorneys wrote.

“No prosecutor has attempted to charge President Trump with insurrection … in the three years since January 6, 2021, despite the relentless and ongoing investigations of President Trump,” they added.

Nearly 200 Republican lawmakers backed President Trump in his legal challenge; signing a separate brief Thursday calling on the Supreme Court to keep him on the 2024 ballots.

Lawmakers argued the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision “severely intrudes” on Congressional powers over the insurrection clause by “allowing enforcement of Section 3 without congressional authorization, and then by concluding that Section 3 authorizes a state to de-ballot a candidate.”

“The Colorado Supreme Court’s opinion so broadly interpreted ‘engage in’ that it sailed right past President Trump’s repeated statements to his supporters—both before the breach of the Capitol and after it was breached—telling them to act peacefully, and that he later told them via video to ‘go home now,’” the GOP lawmakers wrote. “It is hard to imagine an actual insurrectionist quickly asking for peace and encouraging disbandment.”

A group of GOP secretaries of state also asked the court to prevent fellow secretaries of state from disqualifying presidential candidates from the 2025 ballots.
Thursday’s filings with the nation’s highest court come after President Trump was removed from the ballot in Maine, although that decision has been put on hold pending the outcome of the Colorado case, and he remains on the ballot scheduled to take place on March 5 for now.

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