‘Banana Republic Election Interference’: Heritage Election Expert Responds to Colorado Supreme Court Case


‘Banana Republic Election Interference’: Heritage Election Expert Responds to Colorado Supreme Court Case

Dec 19, 2023 2 min read

WASHINGTON—The Colorado Supreme Court tonight ruled in an unprecedented, 4-3 decision to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Heritage Foundation election law expert and former FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky responded to the court’s ruling: 

“This is a nakedly partisan, anti-democratic decision by the Colorado Supreme Court that ignores the law and prior precedent. Under the text and history of the 14th Amendment, as well as court precedent, Trump is not disqualified from running for office for numerous reasons.


“First, Section 3 of the 14 Amendment applies only to individuals who were previously a ‘member of Congress,’ an ‘officer of the United States,’ or a state official. Individuals who are elected—such as the president and vice president—are not officers within the meaning of Section 3. 


“Second, no federal court has convicted Trump of engaging in ‘insurrection or rebellion.’ In fact, the Senate acquitted Trump of that charge in his second impeachment. 


“Third, some scholars assert Section 3 doesn’t even exist anymore as a constitutional matter after the Amnesty Acts of 1872 and 1898–a matter completely ignored by the court today. 


“Fourth, prior court rulings have held that Section 3 is not self-executing and Congress has never passed any federal law providing for enforcement, meaning that courts such as the Colorado Supreme Court have no legal authority to enforce Section 3. 


“Despite these strong defenses, the court in Colorado proceeded in its power grab, deciding to remove the ability of American voters to make their own decision on who they believe should be president. This badly judged, banana-republic election interference will swiftly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which should take this case to short-circuit all the similar meritless challenges that are being filed in numerous states to remove Trump from the ballot.” 

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