In the realm of law and politics, there are instances where victory can be seized from the brink of defeat. Last Friday’s court decision in Colorado exemplifies such a moment, as the court refused to apply the 14th Amendment to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the Republican presidential primary ballot.
While this ruling may disappoint those who advocate for Trump’s disqualification, there is a significant silver lining for those who recognize the importance of facts and truth in upholding democracy, freedom, and the rule of law.
For the first time, a judge, after considering evidence and conducting a hearing under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, unequivocally stated that Donald Trump committed an “insurrection against the Constitution.” Section 3 stipulates that no person who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution shall hold certain offices under the United States.
Judge Sarah Wallace, in her 102-page decision, affirmed that Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, amounted to incitement and that the First Amendment did not protect his speech.
Despite the disappointment for those seeking disqualification, the Colorado court’s decision underscores a commitment to truth within the justice system and marks another instance of Trump deviating from constitutional governance.
The plaintiffs in the case built on the work of scholars and commentators, arguing that Trump’s actions were tantamount to insurrection during his presidency.
However, Judge Wallace’s interpretation diverged from the sensible constitutional path after affirming the correctness of the last premise. She held that a president is not a federal “officer” and that Section 3 allowed an insurrectionist president to hold future office.
Additionally, she argued that Trump, by taking the presidential oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution, did not vow to “support” it as required by Section 3.
While this deviation may raise concerns about constitutional interpretation, the decision complicates efforts to dismiss it as purely partisan, as it grants Trump a win on the disqualification question. Trump himself celebrated the ruling as a “gigantic court victory.”
Judge Wallace’s conclusion on disqualification follows similar decisions in other state courts that rejected the application of Section 3 to Trump.
The significance of this moment should not be underestimated, as the Colorado court has officially documented that Donald Trump engaged in an insurrection against the American Constitution, contrary to his long-standing denials.
As the case moves to the Colorado Supreme Court and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court, the record stands as a decisive rebuke to those willing to abandon facts and truth in the face of the events of January 6.