Trump insurrection rulings are legal, not political

The Colorado Supreme Court and the Maine secretary of state — applying their state’s respective election laws — both recently held that the application of the “insurrection clause” – Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States — to Donald Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6, 2021 barred him from ever again standing for office as a federal elected office holder.  The provision of the Constitution, part of the post-Civil War amendments to our founding document, is as follows:

“No person…hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

Christopher Cole

As factual predicates to its decision, the Colorado court found that then-President Trump engaged in or acted in aid of “insurrection;” in fact, six of the seven justices of the Colorado Supreme Court confirmed this factual finding.  A majority of that court also found that the presidency is an “officer of the United States” and that Trump was therefore prohibited from standing for office and was barred from being on the state’s ballots in the upcoming primary.  The court explicitly stayed the effect of the decision pending an appeal to, and decision of the Supreme Court of the United States.

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