Colorado’s top elections official told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it should keep Donald Trump off his state’s 2024 ballot because he is an “ineligible insurgent” and vigorously defended the process that led to his disqualification.
Secretary of State Jenna Griswold, a Democrat and staunch Trump critic, delivered perhaps the sharpest rebuke of Trump yet, arguing that he cannot run for president because the 14th Amendment bars insurgents from taking office.
Griswold filed a brief with the Supreme Court saying it had a duty to protect “the maximum franchise” of Colorado’s voting rights by ensuring “votes are not wasted on ineligible candidates.”
“Just as Colorado cannot be forced to include on its presidential primary ballot a naturalized citizen, a minor, or anyone twice elected to the presidency, it should not be forced to include such a candidate. “Should not be compelled to commit any crime which his courts have found guilty of violating his oath to support the Constitution by joining in rebellion,” Griswold wrote.
Griswold had adopted a more neutral tone throughout the matter. She said she believed Trump “incited insurrection”, but that she would defer to the courts on how to enforce the post-Civil War amendment. His office did not take a position on Trump’s eligibility during the Denver-based trial last year or during the Colorado Supreme Court’s review of the case.
He defended the processes that led to Colorado courts disqualifying Trump. His lawyers, and some dissenting justices of the divided Colorado Supreme Court, argue that the process had fatal flaws and that his due process rights were trampled.
“Although the facts and historical significance of this case are extraordinary, Colorado’s process for addressing petitioner Trump’s eligibility was routine,” Griswold wrote Wednesday. “For decades, Colorado has repeatedly relied on this state court process to resolve other election disputes that present new and complex issues of both fact and law, including issues of ballot access and constitutional magnitude.”
His petition is one of dozens that have been submitted to the Supreme Court 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 Trump to be removed from 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 from voting. A group of retired state Supreme Court judges did the same, including some from states that had previously rejected similar challenges.
Conservative scholars and lawmakers have asked the court to reinstate Trump on the ballot, claiming the case is undemocratic and prevents voters from choosing the president.