Donald Trump has been kicked off the ballot in Colorado. According to the state supreme court, Donald Trump is ineligible to run on either the primary or general election tickets due to a little thing called the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. And it is glorious.
As a long-time fan of the 14th Amendment, I have advocated since pretty much right after the January 6th attacks to use its powers to bar Trump (and many others besides) from holding office again in any capacity. The 14th Amendment is the lodestone to much of modern American life: It’s responsible for birthright citizenship (which many, many generations of immigrants would use to settle here), the debt ceiling (despite no one wanting to use it), equality under the law (assuming that SCOTUS ever bothers reading it), and, most importantly for our purposes, punishing traitors.
Drafted and submitted right after that little conflict known as the Civil War, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was designed to prevent former Confederates from taking up office again. While the results of the effort were…mixed (to say the least), the language of the amendment is very clear:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, 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, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.
Last night, the Colorado Supreme Court announced that a four-person majority had read the amendment, looked at Donald Trump’s actions, considered what he did on January 6th, 2021, and determined that it was pretty much a textbook application of its purpose. The major considerations that brought them to that conclusion were: what happened on January 6th was an insurrection; Donald Trump was instrumental in that insurrection via coordination and incitement; Section 3 is automatic, without any need for Congressional approval, and the Presidency is an office under the United States.
By these arguments combined, Donald Trump is off the ballot.
But as obvious as it might seem to those of us in the reality-based community, it’s important that the Colorado Supreme Court majority laid out a very thorough argument for their case. Some elements—like the automatic nature of Section 3 or the role of the presidency—are not standard belief, and will need a lot of support as the appeal goes forward. Because their entire decision is about to be reviewed by the corrupt Supreme Court, where half of the conservative majority was appointed by Trump, another two members are openly paid to have the “correct” opinions for their billionaire keepers, and one of them is literally married to an insurrectionist. The quality of Colorado’s top court will determine whether this is a path forward for other states to bar Trump from the ballot.
Republicans have taken this in stride, calmly advocating for the process to work itself out and for voters to respect…
… Lol, no. They’re calling the Colorado Supreme Court a sham and insisting that the ruling is “election interference” because they hate the rule of law. Even GOP primary rivals who would benefit from this effort to ban Trump from the primary ballot have decried courts interpreting the constitutional eligibility of candidates for office, which is pretty ironic when you consider that Trump came to political prominence by insisting that Barack Obama was constitutionally unfit to be President. Almost as if they have no principles or consistent beliefs beyond their right to hold power.
But even among the noise and chatter, the attacks and counterattacks, the looming question of the corrupt Supreme Court and the possibility of reinstatement, for one moment at least, Donald Trump has been held accountable for his crimes.