Former President Donald Trump may have celebrated a judge’s ruling that allowed his name to remain on Colorado’s primary ballot for the 2024 election, but legal experts are suggesting that the decision could actually spell trouble for him. Colorado state District Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled on Friday that Trump had engaged in insurrection during the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. However, she also stated that there was a lack of clarity regarding whether the constitutional amendment that bars insurrectionists from holding public office applies to the presidency.
Neal Katyal, former acting Solicitor General under the Obama administration, expressed his skepticism about the ruling. He argued that this decision was the worst Trump could have received from the trial court because it will likely be appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court. Katyal explained that while factual findings by the trial judge are typically difficult to overturn on appeal, legal findings can be reassessed. In this case, Wallace made damning factual findings against Trump but then relied on a weak legal technicality, admitting that it would be preposterous to claim that the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to the presidency.
Jill Wine-Banks, a former Watergate prosecutor, made a similar argument, stating that the judge’s decision was wrong on the law. She acknowledged that the factual finding of Trump’s involvement in insurrection was accurate and would bar him from holding office if he were an officer. She expressed her belief that any higher court would find that the intent of the amendment was to disqualify individuals like Trump from the presidency.
Overall, legal experts are suggesting that the ruling, while allowing Trump to remain on Colorado’s primary ballot, may have serious implications for his political future. The case is expected to be appealed, and the outcome could have far-reaching consequences for Trump’s eligibility to hold public office.