OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump is one ruling away from bringing his 2024 candidacy before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Despite a previous ruling from a lower court that allowed him to remain on the state’s primary ballot, Trump is appealing the Colorado case that attempted to remove him from the ballot. This could be good news for Trump, given that he appointed three justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, creating a 6-3 Republican majority on the nation’s highest court.
The former president asked the Colorado Supreme Court to review the legal and factual rulings made by District Judge Sarah Wallace in an application for review that was filed on Monday. According to the president’s attorneys, the rulings are “wholly unsupported by the law.” Judge Wallace found that Trump had “incited” the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, but he disagreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that the president was subject to the law.
In this case, it is the second appeal. In addition to the case against Trump, a group of Colorado voters appealed to the state Supreme Court in 67 pages.
Speaking with Newsweek, constitutional attorney Kent Greenfield argued that the appeals court is expected to rule in a matter of weeks and that in the event that the court rules against Trump, “there is little doubt that the Trump campaign will petition for review at the Supreme Court.”
“If that happens, it is highly likely that the Court will hear the case on an expedited schedule,” Greenfield said. “This could be the most important political case the Court has heard since Bush v. Gore.”
According to Greenfield, the Supreme Court, which is attempting to “avoid it if they can,” is unlikely to consider a petition from the former president if the appeals court does rule in favor of Trump.
“It was just a matter of time before the Supreme Court had to address this issue,” former federal prosecutor and president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, Neama Rahmani, told Newsweek. “It’s an unsettled matter of important constitutional significance, and now we have inconsistent rulings across the country.”
Days after a Colorado judge denied a 14th Amendment challenge to take Trump off the state’s primary ballot, the businessman filed an appeal. According to Section 3 of the amendment, anyone who has participated in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States is ineligible to hold any civil or military office.
Trump’s legal team appealed Wallace’s ruling that the Capitol riot on January 6th constituted an “insurrection,” that Trump’s political comments “incited violence,” and that the First Amendment did not protect his speech.
Wallace decided that although her findings would normally be sufficient to disqualify a candidate for office, they only apply to “officers of the United States,” which she concluded does not include presidential and vice presidential candidates.
As a result, Wallace permitted Trump to remain on the ballot.
According to Greenfield and the majority of legal scholars, it is absurd to think that Section 3 does not apply to the President. “Why would the Framers of the 14th Amendment provide for the disqualification of treasonous members of Congress but not require the disqualification of an insurrectionist occupying the nation’s most powerful office?”
Wallace rejected lawsuits attempting to disqualify Trump on the grounds of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment on Friday, making it the third such decision in just over a week. Trump has already been permitted to remain on the primary ballot by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which held that political parties alone determine who appears on the ballot. In Michigan, a judge decided that Congress should have the final say over whether or not Section 3 applies to Trump.
“Some judges have dismissed lawsuits on the basis of standing, while others have stated that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment does not apply to primary elections or that it is a political issue for Congress to decide. And in Colorado, surprisingly, the judge ruled that a president is not an officer of the United States,” Rahmani said.
He said, “The rulings are all over the place, so the Justices have to define the standard to review these 14th Amendment challenges if it’s even something lower courts can address.”