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Colorado judge paves way for trial on whether 14th Amendment disqualifies Trump from office

A Colorado judge has rejected another attempt by former President Donald Trump to throw out a lawsuit seeking to block him from the 2024 presidential ballot based on the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban.”

The ruling Wednesday from Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace clears the way for an unprecedented trial to begin next week, to determine if Trump is disqualified from returning to the White House because of his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

This is the fifth unsuccessful bid by Trump to throw out the Colorado case, which is one of several pending suits trying to derail his candidacy based on the 14th Amendment.

The 14th Amendment, which was ratified after the Civil War, says US officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution are disqualified from future office if they “engaged in insurrection” or have “given aid or comfort” to insurrectionists. But the Constitution does not spell out how to enforce the ban, and it has only been applied twice since the 1800s.

In a 24-page ruling, Wallace rejected Trump’s argument that questions about his eligibility should be handled by Congress, not courts. She also rejected Trump’s argument that the Colorado election officials don’t have the power to enforce the so-called “insurrectionist ban,” which is enshrined in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

“The Court holds that states can, and have, applied Section 3 pursuant to state statutes without federal enforcement legislation,” Wallace wrote.

She said the trial will focus on several key questions, including whether the events of January 6 “constituted an insurrection” and whether Trump “engaged” in insurrection.

Trump has denied wrongdoing regarding the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. He pleaded not guilty to state and federal charges stemming from his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

His campaign has condemned these “absurd” lawsuits and said the groups pushing these candidacy challenges are “stretching the law beyond recognition.”

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