BREAKING: Colorado Supreme Court Bans President Trump From the Ballot – ACLJ To Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court on Behalf of Colorado Republican Party


Jay Sekulow and Jordan Sekulow

December 20, 2023

5 min read

Election Law



In a shocking ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court has banned President Trump from the state’s presidential ballot in a split 4-3 decision. The court stayed its own ruling until January 4th, the day before state law requires the primary ballot be certified, pending an appeal.

The ACLJ represents the Colorado Republican Party in this case, and we will be appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. The trial court in this case had ruled that the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause did not apply to President Trump and ordered that he remain on the ballot, agreeing with the arguments our team made before the court.

The Colorado Supreme Court, however, just reversed that decision, concluding:

The district court erred by concluding that Section Three does not apply to the President. We therefore reverse the district court’s judgment. As stated above, however, we affirm much of the district court’s reasoning on other issues. Accordingly, we conclude that because President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three, it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code for the Secretary to list President Trump as a candidate on the presidential primary ballot. Therefore, the Secretary may not list President Trump’s name on the 2024 presidential primary ballot, nor may she count any write-in votes cast for him. . . . But we stay our ruling until January 4, 2024 (the day before the Secretary’s deadline to certify the content of the presidential primary ballot). If review is sought in the Supreme Court before the stay expires, it shall remain in place, and the Secretary will continue to be required to include President Trump’s name on the 2024 presidential primary ballot until the receipt of any order or mandate from the Supreme Court.

The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling is legally and constitutionally flawed on a number of levels. As we previously explained:

There are a number of reasons that make this attempt to remove Donald Trump from the ballot baseless. Here are just a handful:

  • This provision of the 14th Amendment does not apply to former Presidents. The 14th Amendment has a Civil War provision that disqualifies anyone who commits insurrection or gives aid and support to our country’s enemies from holding political office. But, contrary to the way this provision has been described in the media, it only applies to people who held certain positions, such as Members of Congress, state legislators, “or as an officer of the United States.” As the Supreme Court of the United States has explained, the President is not an officer of the United States but the head of the Executive branch, with authority to appoint those officers.
  • The cited provision of the 14th Amendment does not give a Secretary of State, or anyone else, the authority to unilaterally decide to remove someone from the ballot. If it did, it would allow for the arbitrary removal of any candidate without due process, without trial, and perhaps with a simple declaration by the Colorado Secretary of State or some other Secretary of State that the candidate is ineligible. Instead, the 14th Amendment operates “by the legislation of congress in its ordinary course,” as Chief Justice Chase explained when the provision was first ratified. Without a federal law giving them the right to seek a candidate’s removal, there is no basis to try to remove President Trump from the ballot in Colorado or anywhere else.
  • Congress has, in fact, spoken on this issue. It provided the mechanism for people to be removed from election ballots under the 14th Amendment by enacting a statute, 18 U.S.C § 2383, which prohibits participation in rebellion or insurrection and provides that those found guilty of violating this statute “shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” This criminal law proceeds through the ordinary course of prosecution, trial by a court, decision by a jury, and appeal, with due process all the way. If a person were properly found guilty under this statute, they would be disqualified from office. Notably, no one connected to the January 6 issues has been charged with insurrection. In other words, the method Congress has provided for disqualifying someone from office has not even been pursued here.

In short, this disqualification provision doesn’t apply to a President. Even if it did, people do not get to arbitrarily enforce it and ignore the requirements of due process; it is not self-executing and, instead, must be enforced through the mechanisms Congress has established. And the mechanism that Congress has established is a criminal insurrection statute that no prosecutor, not even Jack Smith, has charged President Trump with violating.

This case presents one of the biggest constitutional crises of modern history. We will be appealing this flawed ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Colorado Republican Party. This case will move lightning fast with a cert. petition due to the Supreme Court in just about two weeks.

The Constitution, our system of democratic elections in our constitutional republic, the right of a party to designate its candidates of choice for its members – and ultimately, the voters’ right to choose who they vote for, and due process, are all under assault. The ACLJ is engaged. Stand with us. Your right to vote is at stake.