Trump loses first of several bids to toss suit seeking to block him from Colorado ballot

CNN — 

Former President Donald Trump has lost the first of several attempts to throw out a lawsuit that seeks to block him from the 2024 presidential ballot in Colorado, based on the 14th Amendment’s prohibition against insurrectionists holding public office.

Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace this week rejected Trump’s bid to get the lawsuit dismissed on free-speech grounds.

The former president still has several pending challenges against the case, which was initiated by a liberal government watchdog group.

A trial to determine Trump’s eligibility is set for October 30, if the case reaches that stage. Colorado election officials say there’s a “hard deadline” to resolve the dispute before January 5, when the ballot printing process begins for the March 5 Republican primary.

A post-Civil War provision of the 14th Amendment says American officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution are disqualified from future office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or if they have “given aid or comfort” to insurrectionists. But the Constitution does not spell out how to enforce this ban, and it has been applied only twice since the late 1800s, when it was used against former Confederates.

In a 22-page ruling, Wallace said she wasn’t swayed by Trump’s argument that the lawsuit seeks to improperly restrict his rights to participate in the political process.

“The Court has no difficulty concluding that it is to the benefit of the general public that, regardless of political affiliation, only constitutionally qualified candidates are placed on the ballot,” Wallace wrote.

She added that resolving the question of Trump’s eligibility is particularly important because he is seeking “the highest office in the country” and “the disqualification sought is based on allegations of insurrection against the very government over which the candidate seeks to preside.”

Trump denies wrongdoing and says the candidacy challenges are meritless. The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling.

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