KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Ross: We’re in political legal limbo after Colorado’s Trump decision

Dec 20, 2023, 6:55 AM | Updated: 9:45 am

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Reno, Nev. The...

FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Reno, Nev. The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday, Dec. 19, declared Trump ineligible for the White House under the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause and removed him from the state’s presidential primary ballot, setting up a likely showdown in the nation’s highest court to decide whether the front-runner for the GOP nomination can remain in the race. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)

We’re supposed to get a little break from earthshaking political stories over the holidays, but no such luck. The Colorado State Supreme Court has just ruled by the barest of margins (4-3) that Donald Trump’s name should be struck from the Republican primary ballot in Colorado on the grounds that he deliberately incited an insurrection and is therefore disqualified under the 14th Amendment.

Remember when this 14th Amendment argument was being dismissed as nonsense?

More Dave Ross: The Seahawks threw up a prayer and so did I

But here it is – being taken seriously by a state supreme court, ruling on a complaint brought NOT by Democrats, but by Republicans.

I read the majority opinion – it goes on for 134 pages – and it argues that if Trump can’t be disqualified for insurrection, then it would mean none of the other constitutional standards for the office of President would apply either. Non-citizens could run. Teenagers could run. Barack Obama could run again even though he’s already served two terms.

The dissenters didn’t dispute that Trump engaged in insurrection, but said the court can’t just declare him guilty without holding a trial. The dissenters also argue that while disqualifications like age and citizenship are easy to identify, insurrection is not so simple, especially since Trump hasn’t even been charged with insurrection.

The Colorado ruling has no immediate effect, because it’s suspended, pending review by the US Supreme Court. But here we are, once again, sitting in legal limbo, unable to clearly define one of the basic issues in any government: who qualifies for office, and what does it mean to swear an oath?

I know we’re all taught that the founding fathers were geniuses, sons of the Enlightenment, uniquely qualified to devise the best government ever to spring from the minds of men.

But I’m beginning to think this is one of those times we should have purchased the extended warranty.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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