Colorado’s top court ruled on Tuesday that former President Donald J. Trump is disqualified from holding office again because he engaged in insurrection with his actions leading up to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, an explosive ruling that is likely to put the basic contours of the 2024 election in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Colorado Supreme Court was the first in the nation to find that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — which disqualifies people who engage in insurrection against the Constitution after taking an oath to support it — applies to Mr. Trump, an argument that his opponents have been making around the country.
The ruling directs the Colorado secretary of state to exclude Mr. Trump’s name from the state’s Republican primary ballot. It does not address the general election.
“We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” a four-justice majority wrote, with three justices dissenting. “We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.”
Mr. Trump’s campaign said immediately that it would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Colorado justices anticipated that likelihood by putting their ruling on hold at least until Jan. 4; if Mr. Trump appeals before then, the hold will continue until the Supreme Court rules. And while Tuesday’s ruling applies only to one state, it could all but force the nation’s highest court to decide the question for all 50.
“It’s hard for me to see how they don’t take this one, because this certainly seems to be one of those questions that requires some national resolution,” said Anthony Michael Kreis, an assistant professor of law at Georgia State University who has closely followed the Colorado case and related lawsuits around the country.
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