A Colorado judge Wednesday denied a procedural motion to dismiss a suit seeking to ban former President Trump from the state’s presidential ballot.
The suit cites the 14th Amendment clause banning those who participate or assist in insurrection from taking office, a legal argument that centers on Trump’s actions before and on Jan. 6 when thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol.
Attorneys representing the Trump campaign argued that Trump’s speeches and actions surrounding the Jan. 6 attack do not qualify as inciting an insurrection, and therefore the suit should be dropped.
But Judge Sarah B. Wallace allowed the case to continue, citing a need for it to be fully argued given the unique legal questions it poses — namely the relationship between the 1st and 14th Amendment arguments brought by both sides of the case.
“To be clear, I’m not deciding any of these issues,” Wallace said Wednesday. “I’m denying the motion for directed verdict because in order to grant the motion for directed verdict, I would have to decide many legal issues that I’m simply not prepared to decide today.”
In the case’s three days of hearings so far, plaintiffs have argued that Trump was responsible for the violence on Jan. 6 because of a long-standing and developed relationship with far-right extremists. They also argued that the 14th Amendment would apply to Trump and that the Jan. 6 attacks do count as an insurrection, by definition applicable to the amendment.
Trump’s defense has opposed those arguments and began presenting its case after the motion was denied Wednesday.
Wallace said that she would be better able to decide the case once Trump’s side argued their position fully.
“Further, I think I will be better informed to decide the legal issues when I have more of a factual context, which I expect I will have after the presentation of intervenors case,” she said.
Similar cases are being considered in Minnesota and Michigan — the latter of which is notably a key swing state. It is likely one of these cases will land before the Supreme Court, which has never ruled on the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause.” Three of the current sitting justices were appointed by Trump during his first term.