Colorado Official Rips Judge’s Trump Ruling: ‘Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card’

Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold criticized a judge’s ruling that stated Donald Trump could remain on the state’s 2024 primary ballot, despite saying he “engaged in an insurrection,” by calling it a “get-out-of-jail-free card” on Saturday.

The legal challenges that have sought to remove Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, from various state ballots cite a Civil War-era clause in the 14th Amendment that prohibits officials who have taken an oath to uphold the United States Constitution from holding office if they’ve “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or “given aid or comfort” to those who did. Those seeking to ban Trump from the ballots argue his actions after losing the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden that led to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot amounts to insurrection.

In Colorado, District Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled on Friday that the former president could remain on the state’s ballot while also stating in her decision that he engaged in an insurrection against the Constitution with his actions before and during the riot, which could be used in an appeal.

While speaking about the ruling on Saturday with MSNBC‘s host Ali Velshi, Griswold critiqued the ruling and said that “the idea that any official who would engage in insurrection would be barred from taking office, except the presidency, is incredibly surprising.” She added: “That basically means that the presidency is a get-out-of-jail-free card for insurrection.”

Griswold also emphasized how despite Friday’s ruling being one of the first to state that Trump “engaged in an insurrection,” she still finds it troubling that he could become president again.

In addition, while speaking with Newsweek via phone on Saturday afternoon, Griswold said it is not only noteworthy that the court took the time to hear the arguments and ruled that Trump engaged in an insurrection, but is “a clear warning of the danger of Donald Trump to American democracy.”

The Colorado case was brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a progressive government watchdog group. Noah Bookbinder, the president of CREW, addressed Wallace’s ruling in a thread on X, formerly Twitter, and said the group plans to file an appeal.

“The Colorado court’s decision today affirms what @CREWcrew’s clients alleged in this lawsuit: that Donald Trump engaged in insurrection based on his role in January 6th. That finding came after a thorough evidentiary hearing,” he wrote on Friday.

Bookbinder continued: “The court did not order him removed from the ballot, however, finding that the president is not an officer of the United States and so not subject to the 14th amendment’s disqualification clause. We will be filing an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court shortly. This is the first time a presidential candidate has been found to have engaged in insurrection. We are proud to have brought this historic case. Today was not the end of this effort, but another step along the way.”

Griswold also believes this is not the last we will hear about this case and told Newsweek, “I think this case will continue to play out…this case will very likely move forward to the Colorado Supreme Court and we will see what the Colorado Supreme Court does. As secretary of state, I’ll follow whatever court decision is in place at the time to certify the ballot on January 5.”

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, previously provided an official statement to Newsweek on Saturday celebrating the dismissal of the ballot challenge.

“We applaud today’s ruling in Colorado, which is another nail in the coffin of the un-American ballot challenges,” Cheung’s statement read. “With this decision, Democrats‘ 14th Amendment challenges have now been defeated in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. These cases represent the most cynical and blatant political attempts to interfere with the upcoming presidential election by desperate Democrats who know Crooked Joe Biden is a failed president on the fast track to defeat.”

On Tuesday, Michigan judge James Redford also denied a request to keep Trump off the state’s 2024 presidential primary ballot, saying that the request is a “political question” and not a question to be decided by the courts.

“The question of whether Donald J. Trump is qualified or disqualified from appearing on the 2024 general election ballot in Michigan is not ripe for adjudication at this time,” the judge ruled.

Meanwhile, Trump was indicted on four counts in August by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in relation to the Capitol riot, including conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights. Trump has pled not guilty to all counts and has maintained his innocence.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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