A group of Republican and independent Colorado voters spoke today on the steps of the Supreme Court alongside their attorneys following oral arguments in Trump v. Anderson, a lawsuit challenging former President Donald Trump’s eligibility to appear on Colorado’s Republican presidential primary ballot due to his involvement in the January 6th insurrection.
“We stand here today not just as voters, but as defenders of the principles that define our democracy,” said Norma Anderson, former Republican Colorado House and Senate Majority leader who brought the original case against Trump. “Our fight to uphold the integrity of our electoral process is not about partisan politics; it’s about preserving the very ideals for which our forefathers fought. Donald Trump’s actions on January 6th stand in direct opposition to those sacred ideals and today, we stand before the Supreme Court seeking justice to ensure that no one, regardless of their party or popularity, is above accountability.
“Today is a day that tests our nation’s commitment to the rule of law,” said Jason Murray, attorney representing the Colorado voters in Trump v. Anderson. “Our victory at the Colorado Supreme Court was a resounding statement that nobody, including a former President, stands above our Constitution. We are resolute in defending that decision before our nation’s highest court. The purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment is to protect against the very threats to democracy that we witnessed on January 6. If the former president is allowed to remain on the ballot, it will permit future Presidents to subvert the will of the American people with impunity.”
“People from across the political spectrum and from all walks of life – from former members of Congress to constitutional scholars to everyday Americans – have come together in this exceptional and fragile moment in the history of American democracy to reinforce the Constitution’s very purpose in safeguarding our democracy from insurrectionists,” said Noah Bookbinder, President of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “The framers of the 14th Amendment adopted this provision specifically to preserve American democracy in a moment precisely like this one and from a threat precisely like Donald Trump. On January 6th we saw what it looked like when Trump tried to tear down the foundations of our democracy. Today, we see what it looks like when the rule of law enshrined in our Constitution fights back.”
A group of Republican and independent Colorado voters filed their case, Anderson v. Griswold, in September 2023, asserting that Trump had rendered himself ineligible for the presidency due to his involvement in the January 6th, 2021 insurrection, citing the Fourteenth Amendment. Under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, individuals who engage in insurrection against the United States are disqualified from holding office if they previously swore an oath to support the Constitution.
In November 2023, a trial court judge, despite finding that Trump engaged in insurrection on January 6th, did not remove him from the ballot under the 14th Amendment, ruling that the president is not an “officer of the United States” and that the president’s oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” is not an oath to “support” the Constitution. The plaintiffs appealed this decision to the Colorado Supreme Court.
The Colorado Supreme Court overturned the trial court’s decision to keep Trump on the ballot, ruling that Trump is an officer of the United States, and his actions during the January 6th insurrection disqualified him from the presidency. Trump subsequently challenged the ruling in Trump v. Anderson, which was first filed on January 3, 2024, bringing the issue to the Supreme Court for further deliberation.
About Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
CREW is a non-partisan legal watchdog group, founded in 2003. In a political moment where profits are prioritized over ethics and anonymous money damages the democratic process, CREW highlights these violations of the law and abuses of power through aggressive research and legal action.