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Colorado, Minnesota courts debate effort to knock Trump off ballots - USA TODAY

Author: USA TODAY

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/10/30/colorado-minnesota-trump-fourteenth-amendment-ballot/71378899007/

Image of Colorado, Minnesota courts debate effort to knock Trump off ballots - USA TODAY

The plaintiffs argue the issue is simple: Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 loss, leading to the Jan.6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, mean he's disqualified from the presidency.WASHINGTON – The effort to knock former President Donald Trump off the ballot because of his attempts to overturn the 2020 election will be tested in two state courtrooms this week in a dispute that may ultimately be bound for the Supreme Court.Two lawsuits, one in Colorado and the other in Minnesota, are among dozens pending across the nation that rely on a post-Civil War-era clause of the 14th Amendment to bar anyone who "engaged in insurrection" after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution from holding higher office again.On Monday, lawyers for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Trump campaign squared off in a Denver courtroom in one of those lawsuits.On Thursday, Minnesota's highest court will hear arguments in a similar suit filed by a group called Free Speech for People.he plaintiffs in the cases argue the issue is simple: Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, leading to the Jan.6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, mean he's disqualified from the presidency just as clearly as if he were not a natural-born citizen, another constitutional prerequisite for the office.Eric Olson, the lawyer representing a group of Colorado voters seeking to keep Trump off the ballot, argued Monday that Trump had “summoned and organized the mob" attacked the Capitol."We are here because Trump claims, after all that, he has the right to be president again," Olson said."But our Constitution − our shared charter of our nation − says he cannot do so."Trump, who faces federal and criminal trials in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta over his 2020 activities, has described the anti-ballot legal fight as an extension of 2024 politics from his enemies.Trump's attorneys argue the fight is premature – the former president hasn't yet been certified as a candidate – and that the plaintiffs in the case, they say, don't have standing to sue.The clause at issue has only been used a handful of times since immediately after the Civil War.Trump’s lawyers contend that it was never meant to apply to the office of president, which is not mentioned in the text, unlike “Senator or Representative in Congress” and “elector of President and Vice President.”"When it comes to decide as to who should lead our nation, it's the people of the United States of America that get to make those decisions − not six voters in Colorado," said Scott Gessler, representing Trump."It's the people who get to decide. And this lawsuit seeks to cancel that principle.This lawsuit is anti-democratic."Later this week, similar questions will be hashed out in Minnesota's Supreme Court.In that state, such claims can go directly to the state's highest court.Whichever side loses in the cases is likely to quickly seek review by the U.S.Supreme Court.Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says that no one can hold federal office who "having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States...shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."Contributing: Associated Press, David JacksonFacebookTwitterEmail

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