Column: Trump called the latest 14th Amendment ruling a 'victory.' He couldn't be more wrong to politics – 125 points –
Column: Trump called the latest 14th Amendment ruling a 'victory.' He couldn't be more wrong

In fact, the opinion by Colorado District Judge Sarah B. Wallace is a giant step toward disqualifying Trump from the ballot on constitutional grounds.


Actually, I'm going to say that Trump was correct in calling it a victory. It's just not the victory he says it is.

Make no mistake, this judge was always looking for an excuse.......any excuse to not remove Trump from the ballot after expressing concern over what would happen if she disqualified Trump from the ballot. The same thing happened in Michigan and Minnesota, where they also came up with flimsy excuses to not take action against Trump: Michigan said Congress should be the enforcement mechanism for the 14th amendment, and Minnesota kicked the can down the road by saying that the 14th amendment doesn't apply to the primaries.

In all 3 cases, the judges concluded that Trump engaged in conduct disqualifying him from the ballot. But in all 3 cases, they all simply found a different excuse to continue doing nothing. Not based on the correct interpretation of the law, but based on a desire not to deal with the fallout that would come from making the correct ruling. Whether it was fear of setting precedent or fear of violence, the end result was the same.

And this is why it should be considered a victory for Trump. He has so far survived 3 attempts at being properly disqualified from the ballot not because of an interpretation of the 14th amendment, but because of fears of violence. He continues to prove violence works, and has been successful in evading accountability by slinging threats. It may be disastrous for the viability of the Constitution and the rule of law, but it no doubt was an enormous victory for Trump.

All these judges know full well that no matter what they decide, it's going to be appealed, first to their state's Supreme Court, then to SCOTUS. Why should any of them put themselves at real personal risk of harassment, intimidation, threats, and actual violence; when they know full well that their ruling ultimately doesn't matter?

What Wallace did, though, was find the fact that Trump "engaged in insurrection." Findings of fact are tremendously more difficult for an appeal to overturn. The ruling about not disqualifying him from the ballot is a legal finding, and that is much more likely to be overturned on appeal. She also used one standard (a "liberally broad" interpretation of the amendment) to find the fact, and then used a much more specific technical reading on the definition of "officer under the United States" to make the legal finding. And she referred to Trump, earlier in the order, as "Chief Exectuive Officer of the Executive Branch."

The legal finding in this ruling is ripe for appeal. On its face, the ruling seems cowardly, silly, and bizarre; I think there's a fair possibility that history will show it to be brilliant.

That's an interesting take. I would love to fast forward to find out what happens. Since IANAL wonder also whether a broad interpretation was chosen for a reason and if so, what it was.

Have a read for yourself, see what you think.

Forgive me while I promote a place to post original documents.

Ooo. Cool! That's an interesting read (well, I skimmed over a lot of it). Really brings into focus the arguments and rationale for the court findings. Some gold nuggets in there.

I didn't really find the part about broad interpretation but I found the section on understanding what was meant by insurrection and by engagement quite interesting.

There seems to be a very solid basis for interpreting these terms as the court did (based on my years of experience not being a lawyer lol). And Trump's team sounds incompetent.

For example, they argued that the Jan 6 Committee was biased and the report shouldn't be considered trustworthy. But never offered evidence to counter any of its findings. Bruh. Wtaf.

Interesting that the "offices" to be disqualified by the 14th amendment are explicitly listed and exclude the president and vice president. And an earlier version did specifically include those two positions. Fucking hell. Thanks a lot, drafters of the 14th.

It's patently absurd to think that the drafters of this clause intended for it not to apply to President or Vice President -- because they explicitly state that someone who engaged in insurrection cannot be a member of the Electoral College. So ... it's not okay to play a teeny tiny role in selecting POTUS or VPOTUS, but let's make sure that it is okay to actually be POTUS or VPOTUS?

There is absolutely no way that that is the case. It's irrational and ludicrous.

The Judge should have disqualified on the spot.

It was a Colorado ruling, not Federal. Colorado doesn't bar the president from running if he's seditious, but the judge set precedence which will be cited by other states which do have the rule, and the or by suits arguing whether he's qualified.

The Fourteenth Amendment does, and by a plain reading of the text it should disqualify Trump from being on any ballot. But clearly this judge took the coward's way out and instead made a judgment on fact without touching how that fact should affect Colorado ballots. The Amendment doesn't make any provision for the popularity of a candidate with regard to eligibility.

I think they might be crazy like a fox. She just kicked it to another court. Let the appellate court (with the bigger security budget), defend that decision and leave her and her family alone.

The presidential ballot is state-by-state. Who appears is not, to date, determined at the federal level. An act of Congress could change that, but for now it has to go through the states.

4 more...

Why have all the mainstream commenters decided to take this asinine line that it was as bad as possible for Trump? It was a reminder that he is above the law, and judges will come up with any bullshit they can to let him slide.

As I understand it... the judge ruled, in an uncontestable way, that trump was part of Jan 6 and it was an insurrection. Other cases, and an appeal of this one, can now rely on that as fact.

But IANAL, so who knows

The reason why legal commentators are saying this isn't a victory for Trump is because, at this level, the finding of fact is what matters most. Appellate courts almost never rule against lower court's judgment of fact. If she had ruled that the 14th amendment applied and Trump had to be removed from the ballot, we'd be in about the same position. The appellate court would've stayed her ruling pending the appeal. The only real difference is that people would be happier about it. But they'd be happy without a good reason because appellate courts always disregard lower court rulings on matters of law. Her ruling on the applicability of the 14th amendment just doesn't matter much.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

People haven’t woken up and mass resisted this criminal thus far so we are expecting this to work? Reminds me of the wisdom of George Carlin late in his life fully absorbing that we are just circling the drain as a species.