What is the 14th Amendment used by Colorado court to disqualify Trump from 2024 ballot?

Insurrection clause aimed at preventing Civil War confederates from returning to government

A rainbow forms above the Colorado State Capitol in June 2022. Getty Images
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Former US president Donald Trump has been blocked from appearing on the 2024 presidential primary ballot in the mountain state of Colorado.

The Colorado Supreme Court declared him ineligible for the White House under the US Constitution’s insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Here is a look at the amendment and what it means.

Civil War era

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was designed to keep former Confederates from returning to government after the Civil War.

It bars from office anyone who swore an oath to “support” the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against it.

The clause has been used only a handful of times since the decade after the Civil War.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed nationally to disqualify Mr Trump under Section 3 after he refused to concede defeat in the 2020 election and then worked to overturn the results.

He has been charged in federal court with felonies for allegedly conspiring to overturn the election and for his role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

What next?

Mr Trump lost Colorado by 13 percentage points in 2020 and does not need the state to win next year’s presidential election.

But the danger for the former president is that more courts and election officials will follow Colorado’s lead and exclude him from must-win states.

He is certain to appeal the Colorado ruling to the Supreme Court, where a heavily pro-Trump bench is expected to rule in his favour, meaning he could ultimately end up on the ballot no matter where he is challenged under the 14th Amendment.

The Colorado ruling applies only to the state's March 5 Republican primary, but its conclusion would likely also affect Mr Trump’s status for the November 5 general election.

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Updated: December 20, 2023, 7:57 AM