Terre Haute, Indiana - On Thursday, the James Madison Center for Free Speech filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of President Donald Trump being restored to the Colorado presidential ballot.
On December 19, 2023, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that President Trump was disqualified from holding the office of President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because he “engaged in insurrection” regarding the January 6th attack on the US Capitol. Therefore, the court ordered that the Colorado Secretary of State could not list him as a candidate on the 2024 presidential primary ballot.
But Section Three's prohibition against having “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” requires a direct, overt act of insurrection, not incitement through speech. The Colorado Supreme Court erred when it held that mere incitement of insurrection was enough.
And the Colorado Supreme Court compounded its error by also incorrectly finding that President Trump's speech on January 6th on Washington D.C.'s Ellipse ‘incited” the attack on the Capitol. The Colorado Supreme Court cherry-picked out-of-context statements by President Trump to build its false case for incitement and imported inapplicable legal points of law to jerry-rig its analysis of his Ellipse speech .
Specifically, the Colorado Supreme Court erred in three ways. First, it looked to President Trump's speeches that were over six years old to assign “meaning” to the words of the Ellipse Speech. Second, it took the actual words in the Ellipse Speech completely out of context . Third, it refused to consider President Trump's calls for peacefully protesting within an hour of the Ellipse Speech itself. Each error was fatal to its conclusion that the Ellipse Speech incited the attack on the Capitol.
“This kind of out-of-context cherry-picking of speech and jerry-rigging of legal analysis does not align with this Court's precedent on incitement or with the U.S. Constitution,”stated James Bopp, Jr., lead counsel for the James Madison Center for Free Speech. “We condemn this lawless attack on American Democracy by President Trump's removal from the ballot in Colorado and urge the U.S. Supreme Court to protect our democracy and free speech by restoring President Trump to the Colorado ballot.”