Efforts to prevent former President Donald Trump from running for the White House in 2024 are gaining momentum in nearly one-third of U.S. states following the success of a lawsuit in Colorado. Advocates argue that a portion of the 14th Amendment, enacted after the Civil War, prohibits individuals who have incited insurrection against the government from seeking federal office, including the presidency.
For these efforts to succeed, two things must happen. Firstly, a judge needs to determine that Trump indeed incited insurrection, which a Colorado judge did by equating the events of January 6, 2021, with an insurrection and holding Trump responsible. Secondly, the Amendment must be interpreted to include the presidency, which the Colorado Supreme Court did by ruling that the former president cannot appear on the ballot.
Lawfare, a legal website, is monitoring the progress of these cases. So far, Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island have rejected claims to block Trump from the ballot. However, there are 13 other states where similar cases are pending: New York, Nevada, Alaska, New Jersey, Oregon, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Two additional states, Arizona and Michigan, had their cases dismissed at lower courts but have filed appeals. Maine, which previously had one case abandoned, now has a pending challenge against Trump.
The list of states involved in these efforts could continue to grow. After the Colorado ruling, California officials expressed their intention to use the 14th Amendment to prevent Trump from running. The legal landscape could change if the Supreme Court hears an appeal of the Colorado ruling and sides with Trump. In that case, all other cases pursuing similar claims would be put on hold until a decision is reached.
These cases present logistical challenges for ballot preparation. Colorado, for instance, must finalize its ballot by January 5 to ensure printing in time for its March 5 primary. This deadline coincides with “Super Tuesday,” a significant day for presidential primaries in several states with pending cases.
Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar and contributor to Fox News, criticized the Colorado court’s decision, calling it a dangerous intrusion into the electoral process. He expressed concern that such a ruling set a precedent that could destabilize the democratic system. Turley warned against making the courts a political tool, comparing the situation to countries like Iran, where the government decides who is eligible for voters to choose.
However, Turley expressed confidence in the Supreme Court’s ability to address the issue swiftly and disagreed with the interpretation of the 14th Amendment presented in the Colorado ruling.