Skip to content Skip to footer

CO Supreme Court Uses Neil Gorsuch Ruling to Justify Blocking Trump From Ballot

Trump is barred from running for office again under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, the court ruled.

Former President Donald Trump greets Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch ahead of the State of the Union address on February 4, 2020 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The Colorado state Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump should be disqualified from being able to serve in any office ever again — including the presidency, which he is seeking in the 2024 election — due to his being an insurrectionist.

A lower court in the state had already determined that Trump was an insurrectionist because of his actions on January 6, 2021, when a mob of his loyalists attacked the U.S. Capitol building after he gave an incendiary speech outside the White House. (Trump also spent several hours refusing to call the mob off, and attempted behind the scenes to intimidate lawmakers to overturn the results of the 2020 election.)

But the lower court ruled that a technicality still allowed Trump to run for office. The six litigants who sued to block Trump’s name from appearing on the ballot next year, represented by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), appealed that decision to the state’s highest court, which ruled that Trump was indeed ineligible.

“A majority of the court holds that President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the state Supreme Court said.

That portion of the Constitution bars anyone who, “having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States,” from being able to hold office again if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”

While the lower court didn’t view Trump, as a former president, as an “officer of the United States,” a majority of the Colorado state Supreme Court did, overturning that view and ruling that he should be forbidden from appearing on the state’s election ballot in 2024.

“We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” the court’s majority wrote. “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.”

While asserting that Trump should be disqualified, the state Supreme Court also placed a stay on its own order, allowing Trump to remain on the ballot for now as it is expected that he will appeal the decision. The stay will last until January 4, one day prior to when the ballot for the 2024 GOP presidential primary has to be finalized in the state.

Notably, the court cited several “state’s rights” cases to back its opinion, including a case in which current federal Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, then ruling as an appellate court judge, asserted that Colorado had the right to enforce a different election law defending its “legitimate interest in protecting the integrity and practical functioning of the political process.” That case, Hassan v. Colorado, dealt with a state statute enforcing the federal constitutional requirement that a person must be a naturally born citizen of the United States in order to run for the presidency.

By citing Gorsuch, the state Supreme Court creates an awkward situation for the federal Supreme Court, should it take up an inevitable appeal by Trump’s campaign over the ruling. The federal Court is currently a 6-3 conservative majority, with three of the conservative bloc members having been appointed by Trump himself, including Gorsuch.


If the federal Supreme Court overturns Colorado’s decision, and Gorsuch sides with that action, he would be directly contradicting his previous views on a state’s right to enforce federal conditions for running for president.

“I *love* how the Colorado decision directly quotes Neil Gorsuch’s *STATE’S RIGHTS* opinions,” The Nation’s justice correspondent, Elie Mystal, wrote on X. “I mean, Gorsuch will probably turn into a sniveling hypocrite and reject his own argument, but it’s a nice touch from his former stomping grounds.”

Grant Stern, executive editor of Occupy Democrats, said that the Colorado justices have “their eyes FIRMLY on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“Their opinion partly rests on a case decided by Justice Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed to the high court,” Stern noted.

The Trump campaign has promised to appeal the state Supreme Court’s decision. Trump has made several posts on his Truth Social platform complaining about the majority opinion, falsely describing it as “election interference” in spite of the fact that the six litigants in the case were Republican and independent voters, not Democrats. The former president also shared posts on his profile attempting to fundraise off of the decision.

Petitioner Norma Anders, a Republican and former Colorado state lawmaker, lauded the court’s ruling.

“My fellow plaintiffs and I brought this case to continue to protect the right to free and fair elections enshrined in our Constitution and to ensure Colorado Republican primary voters are only voting for eligible candidates,” Anders said in a statement on Tuesday. “Today’s win does just that.”

It takes longer to read this sentence than it does to support our work.

We have 2 days to raise the $30,000 needed to meet Truthout‘s basic publishing costs this month. Will you take a few seconds to donate and give us a much-needed boost?

We know you are deeply committed to the issues that matter, and you count on us to bring you trustworthy reporting and comprehensive analysis on the real issues facing our country and the world. And as a nonprofit newsroom supported by reader donations, we’re counting on you too. If you believe in the importance of an independent, free media, please make a tax-deductible donation today!