OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A state judge in Colorado rejected an effort by former President Donald Trump to dismiss a case regarding whether he is constitutionally eligible to run for the same office next year but did not provide any insight into an opinion on the matter one way or another.
MSNBC reported that the decision means the case moved a step closer to trial, which is set to begin on Oct. 30.
“Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace called “pivotal” the legal question of investigation and enforcement of the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause. But in resolving several issues in a Friday ruling, she said that crucial matters are ‘best reserved for trial,’” the outlet reported.
At issue is a claim by left-wing groups that Trump is allegedly barred from seeking federal office under Section 3 of the amendment after taking an oath to support the U.S. Constitution but then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or [has] given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics In Washington (CREW) filed the suit on behalf of some anti-Trump Republican and unaffiliated voters who claim they want to protect the rights of voters to fully participate in the upcoming primary election by ensuring that votes cast will be for those constitutionally qualified to hold office.”
Trump has not been convicted of “insurrection” or “sedition.” However, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., returned charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights in August.
Democrats and left-wing groups have merely claimed that Trump “engaged in insurrection” by questioning and challenging the election results in key states following the 2020 election.
Cases similar to the one in Colorado have also been filed in other states and venues, including Minnesota, where oral arguments have been scheduled for Nov. 2, and Michigan.
Wallace rejected pretrial procedural claims made by Trump’s legal team and the Colorado Republican State Central Committee, but she made it clear that she “makes no judgments on the merits” of Trump’s “constitutional fitness as a candidate by way of these rulings.”
And though Wallace rejected pretrial procedural claims from Trump and the Colorado Republican State Central Committee, the judge made clear she “makes no judgments on the merits” of Trump’s “constitutional fitness as a candidate by way of these rulings.”
Prior to facing any criminal charges, Trump previously fought off federal lawsuits that claimed he bore civil liability for the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
To dismiss these lawsuits, Trump claimed absolute immunity, a claim that has been rejected by two federal judges in four cases filed in the same courthouse as Trump’s election subversion case in Washington, D.C.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering an appeal in the case of U.S. Capitol Police Officer James Blassingame, for which oral arguments were held earlier this year. While the potential outcomes of the civil and criminal cases couldn’t be more different (monetary damages and jail time, respectively), they share a central issue: whether Trump is immune from prosecution for his actions as president.
Trump’s legal team plans to raise the issue of executive immunity “very soon” in criminal court, and a source familiar with their strategy said that this pending civil appeal is the best chance of getting the Supreme Court to rule on the matter.
“If we win, the government is going to appeal. If the government wins, we will appeal,” the person said. “…It’s really a unique issue because it goes to whether or not a court would literally have jurisdiction over a case or hear the case.”
The gamble, if successful, could delay or even derail the criminal case, the source claims. Since a decision in Blassingame before the D.C. Circuit is possible, the stakes have been raised to the Supreme Court, The Messenger noted.