The Win That Wasn’t: Denver District Court Orders
Jena Griswold to Include Trump in 2024 Primary
On Friday, November 17, 2023, the much-awaited decision🔗 on whether President Trump would appear on Colorado’s Presidential Primary ballot arrived. Given that closing arguments were heard on Wednesday, November 15, it didn’t take Judge Wallace very long to arrive at a conclusion. She ordered SOS Jena Griswold to include President Trump’s name on the 2024 Presidential Primary ballot as a Republican candidate.
It should be noted that Colorado was not the only state subjected to litigation over President Trump’s eligibility to run for President in 2024. Other states hearing similar cases (also funded and supported by the same characters behind Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)) were Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. All three of those cases had similar results preserving President Trump’s eligibility for the primary ballot. And while these three other judges arrived at their decision(s) for similar reasons (e.g., elections shouldn’t be decided by the judiciary; the legislature has the Constitutional responsibility to determine eligibility; a primary election is the province of the political parties and it’s too soon to make the argument brought by the petitioners), Colorado’s Judge Sarah Wallace was the outlier, ruling that Amendment 14 / Section 3 does not apply to the President of the US. In other words, the very reason for why the petitioners brought their claims (in all four cases) is moot. There was no argument to be made, because the instrument for excluding President Trump was dead on arrival. This sounds like a silver bullet; the stake through the vampire’s heart; this seems like cause for celebration.
Probably not and here is why:
To begin with, this case as well as the other three will be appealed through their respective channels with SCOTUS as the final destination. And while that is and always was to be expected, Judge Wallace’s final ruling is not the victory we hoped for. To the contrary, it is hardly a victory at all.
The Judge Wallace ruling is 102 pages long. She spent about three pages explaining that Amendment 14 / Section 3 is moot regarding President Trump and about 99 pages finding that January 6, 2021 was indeed an insurrection, and that President Trump did in fact engage in insurrection against the Constitution of the US. Thus, 98% of her ruling was devoted to finding that President Trump fit the description of Amendment 14 / Section 3 – convicting him (in a civil litigation kind of way) of engaging in insurrection – and three-ish pages (actually less than that, because the order to Jena Griswold and the signature block took most of the last page) to summarily conclude that none of 98% of her ruling could be used against President Trump because the language in Amendment 14 / Section 3 seems to exclude the President of the United States.
Judge Wallace was all too eager to “convict” the man for insurrection against the US Constitution, but found herself too constrained to leverage the consequence for having done so. If the outcome of this case was fore-ordained because the section of law to be leveraged was not available, thus rendering the petitioners’ claims DOA, why do any of this at all? Why trot out biased political evidence like the J6 Committee Report, witnesses who have been openly opposed to President Trump since his first campaign, and admit into the record obviously biased and speculative testimony? These questions answer themselves: Judge Wallace just created a judicial record that officially finds that January 6, 2021 was an insurrection in accordance with law and that President Trump engaged in that insurrection as per Amendment 14 / Section 3.
After itemizing and summarizing all the evidence and witness testimony that was heard and presented, Judge Wallace laconically dismissed or discounted nearly everything brought by President Trump’s attorneys as not helpful or not relevant. She found the petitioners’ witnesses and evidence to be instructive and informative and proceeded to blithely declare President Trump an insurrectionist. The fact that 48 hours after closing arguments were heard before she issued a 102-page ruling should clearly indicate that those arguments meant nothing – the decision was written before the case was closed on November 15. There was no way she was going to not find President Trump guilty of insurrection, but she couldn’t get around the language in Amendment 14 / Section 3. That section, which was the entire case for Colorado as well as MI, MN, and NH, makes careful identification of which officers and officials are subject to the so-called “Insurrection Clause” and President of the US is not among them. But if Judge Wallace dismissed the petitioners’ case as moot (something she probably knew going in), then she couldn’t become the first judge the country to officially find that J6 was an insurrection and President Trump is an insurrectionist.
For the petitioners, this was a loss that really wasn’t; and for President Trump, it was a win that really wasn’t. For evidence of this, see the jubilant Jena Griswold crowing about her Judge’s ruling (Wallace is a Jena Griswold donor). Judge Wallace’s findings potentially reach beyond this case and President Trump. Because the judge found January 6 to be an insurrection and agreed with testimony regarding President Trump and right-wing extremism, Trump supporters, MAGA Republicans, and anyone who was in DC on J6 is, by default, a right-wing extremist and insurrectionist…according to the District Court of Denver.
All of the testimony, evidence, and Judge Wallace’s findings are now in the official record and will be the subjects of appeal. They are also available for any other court to use as reference or precedent. We should expect that this case as well as the MI, MN, and NH cases will make their way to SCOTUS. Stolen elections indeed have consequences.