Republican Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has vowed to withdraw from the GOP primary ballot in Colorado. This decision comes in response to a recent ruling by the state’s Supreme Court, which removed former President Donald Trump from the ballot due to his involvement in the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack.
In a narrow 4-3 decision, Colorado’s highest court invoked the 14th Amendment’s ‘insurrection clause’ to kick off Trump.
The court concluded that Trump’s actions, including spreading false claims of election fraud and directing supporters to the Capitol, amounted to engaging in insurrection. Colorado has thus become the first state to prevent Trump from seeking the presidency based on his role in the Capitol attack, The Hill reported.
The insurrection clause bars the holding of “any office…under the United States” if a person engaged in insurrection after swearing to “support” the Constitution as an “officer of the United States.” The Colorado Supreme Court determined that this clause applies to the office of the president, the report added.
“I pledge to withdraw from the Colorado GOP primary unless Trump is also allowed to be on the state’s ballot, and I demand that Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley to do the same immediately – or else they are tacitly endorsing this illegal manoeuvre, which will have disastrous consequences for our country,” Ramaswamy posted on X, calling out his fellow candidates in the GOP presidential primary.
“This is what an actual attack on democracy looks like: in an un-American, unconstitutional, and unprecedented decision, a cabal of Democrat judges are barring Trump from the ballot in Colorado. Having tried every trick in the book to eliminate President Trump from running in this election, the bipartisan Establishment is now deploying a new tactic to bar him from ever holding office again: the 14th Amendment,” his post also read.
Another key GOP presidential candidate, Chris Christie, also weighed in on the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision, arguing that it is voters and not the courts that should decide if Trump should be “prevented” from being re-elected to the White House, according to The Hill.
“What I will say is I do not believe Donald Trump should be prevented from being President of the United States, by any court,” Christie said, adding, “I think he should be prevented from being the President of the United States by the voters of this country.”
In a statement Tuesday, Christie said he doesn’t believe “it’s good” for the US if Trump is kept off the ballot by a court.
“I think it’s bad for the country if that happens,” Christie said, adding, “Now, the other reason I believe that is because, you know, he will have had to incite insurrection, be a part of an insurrection for him to be excluded. There’s been no trial of him on that”, The Hill reported.
The Colorado Supreme Court has removed former US President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot, ruling that he isn’t an eligible presidential candidate because of the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban,” CNN reported.
As per CNN, the ruling will be placed on hold until January 4, pending Trump’s appeal to the US Supreme Court, which could settle the matter for the nation.
The state Supreme Court decision only applies to Colorado but the historic ruling will roil the 2024 presidential campaign. Colorado election officials have said the matter needs to be settled by January 5, which is the statutory deadline to set the list of candidates for the GOP primary scheduled for March 5.
The majority wrote in its unsigned opinion, “President Trump did not merely incite the insurrection. Even when the siege on the Capitol was fully underway, he continued to support it by repeatedly demanding that Vice President (Mike) Pence refuse to perform his constitutional duty and by calling Senators to persuade them to stop the counting of electoral votes. These actions constituted overt, voluntary, and direct participation in the insurrection.”
“We conclude that the foregoing evidence, the great bulk of which was undisputed at trial, established that President Trump engaged in insurrection. President Trump’s direct and express efforts over several months, exhorting his supporters to march to the Capitol to prevent what he falsely characterised as an alleged fraud on the people of this country, were indisputably overt and voluntary,” the opinion added, as per CNN.
The court, in addition, rejected Trump’s free speech claims, writing: “President Trump’s speech on January 6 was not protected by the First Amendment.”
All seven justices on the Colorado Supreme Court were appointed by Democratic governors. Six of the seven subsequently won statewide retention elections to stay on the bench. The seventh was only appointed in 2021 and hasn’t yet faced voters, as per CNN.
(with inputs from ANI)