Closing arguments were made by the plaintiffs, the Colorado Republican Party, the former President of the United States, and Trump’s legal team on November 15th. The day the trial that attempted to keep him off Colorado’s ballot concluded, according to a November 16 Raw Story article.
Six Republican and independent voters filed the lawsuit, claiming that Trump’s participation in the January 6th Capitol attack disqualifies him from office in accordance with the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. People who took an oath to defend the Constitution and then engaged in insurrection are not allowed to hold public office in the United States, according to section three of the 14th Amendment, which was passed in 1868. The clause has had scant use since 1872, despite being rigidly applied against ex-Confederates in the years after its passage.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Sean Grimsley, highlighted the insurrection clause as an essential constitutional self-defense provision that is crucial to maintaining the rule of law. Grimsley contended that Trump is unable to run for president again because of his complicity in the January 6th attack, seen as an attempt to hold on to power at any cost. Trump continues to lead in surveys for the GOP candidacy in 2024 despite being federally charged for allegedly spreading false information about the 2020 race.
By the end of the week, Judge Sarah B. Wallace is expected to render a decision in this case. Similar challenges in Michigan and Minnesota have been delayed, but Colorado’s election laws and established court history make the state a more advantageous location for the plaintiffs. The lawsuit and other 14th Amendment claims are anticipated to be appealed to higher courts, possibly reaching the US Supreme Court. Regardless of the trial’s verdict, the plaintiffs’ case, which included video evidence of Trump’s election-denying statements and the Capitol assault, drew comparisons with the House of Representatives Select Committee’s hearings on January 6th.
The committee’s final report was criticized by Trump’s legal team as being politically biased and depending on films that had been manipulated, raising doubts about the committee’s objectivity. Lead attorney for Trump and former Secretary of State for Colorado, Scott Jess, contended that the key question in the case is whether the court would accept the heavily biased January 6th report. Jessel argued that the petitioners placed a great deal of reliance on the characterizations, conclusions, and inferences made in the report.
The factual conclusions of the committee were generally accepted notwithstanding charges of political bias. During the trial, Democratic Secretary of State of Colorado Gina Griswald, who has been a strong opponent of President Trump, made her first appearance in court. Griswald is included as a defendant in the complaint despite not formally taking a position on Trump’s eligibility because of her alleged unwillingness to remove Trump from the presidential ballot.
Grimsley restated the four main points of the plaintiffs’ case during the hour-long closing argument: Trump’s oath to uphold the Constitution, the classification of the January 6th attack as an insurrection, Trump’s direct involvement in that insurrection, and the right of Colorado election officials to bar ineligible candidates from the ballot. While not disputing the first argument, Trump’s legal team put up a theory arguing that the presidency is not included in Section 3’s list of people who have taken an oath as an officer of the United States. In reference to the uprising, Jessel contested the plaintiffs’ chosen characterization, arguing that the attack on January 6th might qualify as a riot but not an insurrection.
Constitutional law expert Gerard Magaka provided expert testimony in support of the plaintiffs’ claim that the insurrection clause covers those involved in insurrectionist acts, such as speaking words that incite rebellion. Using the Brandenberg test to distinguish protected speech from incitement to violence, Trump’s legal team contended that the evidence did not clearly show a link between Trump’s statements.