Democratic activists, in conjunction with Trump-hating Republicans, are attempting to use a provision of the post-Civil War-era 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as a means to disqualify and remove former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballots via lawsuits filed in several states.
One such attempt is being made in Colorado, and the state judge presiding over that Trump disqualification case just agreed to impose a protective order barring any intimidating or threatening statements in the proceedings, the Associated Press reported.
The move follows and is based on a requested gag order on Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith that a federal judge in Washington D.C. is considering in one of the several criminal indictment cases the former president is facing.
The protective order was sought by the left-leaning activist watchdog group that filed the lawsuit, D.C.-based Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which cited the Special Counsel's proposed gag order and how "At least one of the parties has a tendency to tweet -- or Truth Social ... about witnesses and the courts."
The order was opposed by Scott Gessler, a former Colorado secretary of state who is representing Trump in the proceedings, on the basis that it was unnecessary due to the fact that intimidating and threatening court members and witnesses is already illegal as well as that inflammatory rhetoric has emanated from the left along with the right in the ongoing "robust political debate" about the former president's eligibility for office under Sec. 3 of the 14th Amendment.
Yet, District Judge Sarah B. Wallace clearly sided with the plaintiffs on this issue, as she agreed to impose the protective order and said, "I 100% understand everybody's concerns for the parties, the lawyers, and frankly myself and my staff based on what we've seen in other cases."
The lawsuit was first filed on Sept. 6, according to Axios, and seeks to bar former President Trump from appearing on Colorado's 2024 primary ballot due to his alleged role in the "insurrection" that was the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021 that briefly delayed the congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
"Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election and interfere with the peaceful transfer of power were part of an insurrection against the Constitution of the United States," which renders him ineligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment, according to the lawsuit.
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump, said in a statement at that time, "The people who are pursuing this absurd conspiracy theory and political attack on President Trump are stretching the law beyond recognition much like the political prosecutors in New York, Georgia, and D.C.," and added, "There is no legal basis for this effort except in the minds of those who are pushing it."
One of those who is not necessarily "pushing" the idea but has nonetheless signaled receptiveness to it is Colorado's Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who said in a statement, "Today a lawsuit was filed to determine whether former President Donald J. Trump is disqualified from the Colorado ballot for inciting the January 6th insurrection and attempting to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election."
"The United States Constitution bars anyone who has taken an oath to protect the Constitution from holding office if they have 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion' or 'given aid or comfort to the enemies' of the Constitution," she added. "I look forward to the Colorado Court’s substantive resolution of the issues, and am hopeful that this case will provide guidance to election officials on Trump’s eligibility as a candidate for office."
Somewhat ironically, given her obvious partisan differences with the former president, Colorado Newsline reported that Sec. Griswold is named alongside Trump as a defendant in the 14th Amendment lawsuit filed by CREW.
Joining CREW as plaintiffs in the matter are six Colorado voters, all of whom are either current or former Republicans or unaffiliated with either major political party. The case is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 30, which, per the AP, should leave sufficient time for anticipated appeals to the Colorado Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court to be settled ahead of the Jan. 5 deadline for candidates to be included on the state's primary ballot.
There is another hearing scheduled for Oct. 13 in which the judge will consider two motions from Trump's attorney Gessler to have the lawsuit dismissed, with the first being centered on protecting Trump's First Amendment-protected free speech rights while the second, per Newsline, is focused on the state's anti-SLAPP -- or "strategic lawsuits against public participation" -- law that guards against targeted lawsuits intended to silence specific individuals in the public sphere.