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Colorado’s secretary of state urges Supreme Court to keep Trump off ballot

<i>CNN</i><br/>Jena Griswold urges Supreme Court to keep former President Trump off the ballot.
Jena Griswold urges Supreme Court to keep former President Trump off the ballot.

By Marshall Cohen, CNN

(CNN) — Colorado’s top election official told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that they should keep Donald Trump off her state’s 2024 ballot because he is an “ineligible insurrectionist,” and she forcefully defended the process that led to his disqualification.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat and staunch Trump critic, offered perhaps her sharpest rebuke of Trump to date, arguing that he can’t run for president because the 14th Amendment prohibits insurrectionists from holding office.

Griswold, in a brief with the Supreme Court, said she has a duty to protect “maximum enfranchisement” of Coloradan’s voting rights by ensuring “votes are not wasted on ineligible candidates.”

“Just as Colorado cannot be forced to place on its presidential primary ballot a naturalized citizen, a minor, or someone twice elected to the presidency, it also should not be forced to include a candidate found by its courts to have violated his oath to support the Constitution by engaging in insurrection,” Griswold wrote.

Throughout the case, Griswold had adopted a more neutral tone. She said she believed Trump “incited the insurrection,” but would defer to the courts on how to apply the post-Civil War amendment. Her office did not take a position on Trump’s eligibility during the Denver-based trial last year or while the Colorado Supreme Court reviewed the case.

She defended the procedures that led Colorado courts to disqualify Trump. His lawyers, and some of the dissenting justices from the divided Colorado Supreme Court, contend there were fatal flaws in the procedure and that his due-process rights were trampled.

“While the facts and historical significance of this case are extraordinary, Colorado’s process for addressing Petitioner Trump’s qualifications was routine,” Griswold wrote Wednesday. “Over the decades, Colorado has repeatedly relied on this state court procedure to resolve ballot access and other election disputes presenting novel and complex issues of both fact and law, including issues of constitutional magnitude.”

Her filing is one of dozens that have piled into the Supreme Court docket ahead of oral arguments next Thursday. The case began when a group of Republican and independent Colorado voters sued Griswold in state court, to force her to take Trump off the ballot.

Also on Wednesday, a group of police officers who responded to the attack on January 6, 2021, urged the Supreme Court to keep Trump off the ballot. So did a group of retired state Supreme Court justices, including from some states that previously dismissed similar challenges.

Conservative scholars and lawmakers have asked the court to restore Trump on the ballot, claiming the case is anti-democratic and blocks voters from picking the president.

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