Supreme Court Takes Up Colorado Trump Ballot Disqualification Case
Supreme Court Takes Up Colorado Trump Ballot Disqualification Case

By Catherine Yang

The U.S. Supreme Court accepted a petition for immediate review regarding a Colorado Supreme Court decision to strike former President Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot.

“The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted,” reads the procedural order.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Feb. 8.

Petitioners’ and amicus briefs are due by Jan. 18, and respondents’ and amicus briefs are due by Jan. 31, with any reply briefs due by Feb. 5.

The Colorado Supreme Court had disqualified President Trump as a candidate on Dec. 19 in an order that left little chance for the actual removal of his name from the ballot.

On Dec. 27, the Colorado GOP filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking three separate questions regarding the application of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and political parties’ First Amendment rights to primary their candidate of choice.

On Jan. 3, President Trump filed a separate petition with a simpler question: Did the Colorado Supreme Court err in its ruling?

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken up President Trump’s petition, and has yet to accept to reject the Colorado GOP’s petition.

Trump Campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said the campaign “welcomed” the Supreme Court review.

“We welcome a fair hearing at the Supreme Court to argue against the bad-faith, election-interfering, voter-suppressing, Democrat-backed and Biden-led, 14th Amendment abusing decision to remove President Trump’s name from the 2024 ballot in the state of Colorado,” he stated.

He added that several of these challenges, including the one in Colorado, had been represented and funded by large, left-wing, out-of-state activist groups and have the effect of “disenfranchising voters.”

“We are confident that the fair-minded Supreme Court will unanimously affirm the civil rights of President Trump, and the voting rights of all Americans in a ruling that will squash all of the remaining ballot challenge hoaxes once and for all,” he stated.

Just before the Supreme Court order, the campaign had issued a statement highlight the “precedent” of similar cases being dismissed in state and federal courts the past week.


Colorado was the first state to disqualify President Trump, and the first state to hold hearings regarding the merits of a Section 3 challenge at all.

The legal theory that President Trump can be disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment rests on the premise that the events of Jan. 6, 2021, constituted an insurrection, and that President Trump actively participated in or instigated it. It also assumes that individual state courts at various levels have the authority to adjudicate the eligibility of a presidential candidate under Section 3.

There have been at least 60 of these challenges across the country in recent months, according to President Trump’s attorneys.

However, the majority of these challenges have been dismissed for a wide range of reasons, with several courts citing lack of jurisdiction.

Officials and some judges—including dissenting justices on the Colorado Supreme Court—have argued that if individual state courts were meant to be able to rule if a presidential candidate engaged in insurrection and whether that affected his eligibility, it could result in “chaos,” with upwards of 50 different rulings.

In several amicus briefs filed with both the Colorado GOP and Trump petitions, experts and concerned voters argued much the same.

The Colorado decision has already created a ripple effect, with legislators in other states calling for disqualifications of President Trump as a candidate on their own ballots, as well as other states calling for the disqualification of President Joe Biden from state primaries in retaliation.

Soon after the Colorado Supreme Court ruling, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows similarly disqualified President Trump as a candidate in a decision phrased as having little chance of actually removing him from the ballot. That decision is being appealed in state court, and marks the third jurisdiction that has found that President Trump engaged in an insurrection—without him, or any Jan. 6 defendant, having been charged with such.

Just this week, several more challenges have been filed or dismissed in Illinois, Massachusetts, Wyoming, California, and Virginia.

The lawsuits and wide range of rulings have raised a host of legal questions: Does the Constitution allow states to define “insurrection” individually? Does Congress hold sole authority over disqualifying candidates under Section 3? Does the disqualification from holding office allow states to prohibit candidates from running in primary elections, or can a candidate be disqualified or exempted via a vote by Congress as late as Inauguration Day?

As such, several amicus brief authors have requested the U.S. Supreme Court adjudicate more than what the appellants have asked, including to hold a full hearing on the merits of the case.

A group of 45 Colorado voters had filed an amicus brief on the Colorado GOP petition, urging the Supreme Court to do more than merely reverse the Colorado Supreme Court ruling.

Such a ruling “would solve nothing and actually makes matters worse,” they wrote. “The Colorado court has unleashed harms which will creep beyond Colorado’s borders.”

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