A group of voters challenging former President Donald Trump’s eligibility for a White House run has asserted that Trump is trying to avoid accountability for his role in inciting the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.
Lawyers representing Colorado voters submitted a 70-page filing to the Supreme Court, arguing that Trump’s emphasis is more on political implications, warning of potential “bedlam” if he is excluded from the ballot.
They contend that the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause is specifically designed to prevent individuals like Trump, who have engaged in insurrection, from wielding power and causing further chaos.
Scheduled for oral arguments on February 8, the case questions Trump’s qualification to run based on the 14th Amendment, which prohibits individuals who engaged in insurrection after pledging to support the Constitution from holding federal office.
In response to Trump’s Supreme Court brief, the voters’ attorneys noted that Trump did not contest the insurrection nature of the January 6 attack but attempted a perfunctory disavowal of his involvement.
They argue that Trump’s primary defense suggests the 14th Amendment does not apply to presidential candidates and that his statements on January 6 are protected under free speech.
Rejecting this argument, the voters’ lawyers assert that the First Amendment does not protect individuals who incite violence through veiled language.
Originating in Colorado, where the state Supreme Court ruled in December that Trump is ineligible to run, this marked the first such decision nationally.
Shortly after, Maine’s secretary of state made a similar ruling. Despite these decisions, Trump is expected to appear on primary ballots in both states. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to expedite Trump’s appeal in Colorado.
In their filing, the voters’ attorneys argue that Trump lacks a credible defense against the insurrection allegations, emphasizing his role in summoning an armed and angry crowd that he had been inflaming for months.
They aim to counter several arguments raised by Trump, including the claim that the insurrection clause doesn’t apply to the presidency and that only Congress can enforce it.
The case has attracted numerous “friend of the court” briefs supporting Trump. Many legal experts and involved parties are urging the Supreme Court to promptly issue a final decision on Trump’s eligibility to avoid prolonged political uncertainty.