US Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Colorado Case Kicking Trump Off Ballot Because Of His Efforts To Overturn His 2020 Election Loss To Biden; States Rights Could Be Controlling Issue; Trump Certified On New Mexico Ballot

Late Friday, January 5, the United Sates Supreme Court  said it will decide whether former President Donald Trump can be kept off state ballot because of his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss inserting the court once again in a  presidential campaign.

National news agencies reported in part as follows:

“The justices acknowledged the need to reach a decision quickly, as voters will soon begin casting presidential primary ballots across the country. The court agreed to take up Trump’s appeal of a case from Colorado stemming from his role in the events that culminated in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Underscoring the urgency, arguments will be held on Feb. 8, during what is normally a nearly monthlong winter break for the justices. The compressed timeframe could allow the court to produce a decision before Super Tuesday on March 5, when the largest number of delegates are up for grabs in a single day, including in Colorado.

The court will be considering for the first time the meaning and reach of a provision of the 14th Amendment barring some people who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office. The amendment was adopted in 1868, following the Civil War. It has been so rarely used that the nation’s highest court had no previous occasion to interpret it.

Colorado’s Supreme Court, by a 4-3 vote, ruled last month that Trump should not be on the Republican primary ballot. The decision was the first time the 14th Amendment was used to bar a presidential contender from the ballot.

Trump is separately appealing to state court a ruling by Maine’s Democratic secretary of state, Shenna Bellows, that he was ineligible to appear on that state’s ballot over his role in the Capitol attack. Both the Colorado Supreme Court and the Maine secretary of state’s rulings are on hold until the appeals play out.

The high court’s decision to intervene, which both sides called for, is the most direct involvement in a presidential election since Bush v. Gore in 2000, when a conservative majority effectively decided the election for Republican George W. Bush. Only Justice Clarence Thomas remains from that court.

Three of the nine Supreme Court justices were appointed by Trump, though they have repeatedly ruled against him in 2020 election-related lawsuits, as well as his efforts to keep documents related to Jan. 6 and his tax returns from being turned over to congressional committees.

At the same time, Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh have been in the majority of conservative-driven decisions that overturned the five-decade-old constitutional right to abortionexpanded gun rights and struck down affirmative action in college admissions.

Some Democratic lawmakers have called on Thomas to step aside from the case because of his wife’s support for Trump’s effort to overturn the results of the election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Thomas is unlikely to agree, and there was every indication Friday that all the justices are participating. Thomas has recused himself from only one other case related to the 2020 election, involving former law clerk John Eastman, and so far the people trying to disqualify Trump haven’t asked him to recuse.

The 4-3 Colorado decision cites a ruling by Gorsuch when he was a federal judge in that state. That Gorsuch decision upheld Colorado’s move to strike a naturalized citizen from the state’s presidential ballot because he was born in Guyana and didn’t meet the constitutional requirements to run for office. The court found that Trump likewise doesn’t meet the qualifications due to his role in the U.S. Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021. That day, the Republican president had held a rally outside the White House and exhorted his supporters to “fight like hell” before they walked to the Capitol.”

Links to quoted news sources are here:


More than two dozen states are seeking to keep former President Donald Trump off the 2024 ballot because of his actions surrounding the January 6 riot and relying on the insurrection clause of the United States Constitution. It is Section 3, entitled “Disqualification from Holding Office”, of the Fourteenth Amendment that is referred to as the  insurrection clause.  It states as follows:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

The cases in Michigan and Colorado are among the most notable.  Many have been dismissed, while secretaries of states in places like New Hampshire and Oregon have said they don’t have the authority to exclude Trump from the ballots in their states.


The decision from the Colorado Supreme Court finding Trump cannot hold the presidency was unprecedented and marks the first time a presidential candidate has been deemed ineligible for the White House under Section 3 known as the insurrection clause the  United States Constitution.  Trump is appealing the ruling and it sets up a politically charged showdown before the Supreme Court that has huge implications for the 2024 presidential election.

On December 19, the Colorado Supreme Court kicked former President Trump off the state’s Republican primary ballot under the 14th Amendment in a 4-3 ruling, making it the first state to block him from seeking the presidency because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.  The court put its ruling on hold until January 4, so Trump can first seek review from the  U.S. Supreme Court. Trump’s spokesperson quickly vowed to do so, meaning Trump’s name automatically remains on the ballot until the justices in Washington resolve the appeal.

“The Colorado Supreme court affirmed he engaged in insurrection by inflaming his supporters with false claims of election fraud and directing them to the Capitol — preventing him from a second White House term under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause.”  The state justices determined that the office of the president is covered under the insurrection clause, which specifically lists those who previously took oaths to support the Constitution as “a member of Congress,” “officer of the United States,” “member of any State legislature” or an “executive or judicial officer of any State.”

The district court had ruled that the office of the president was not covered under the clause. “We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” the upper court wrote in its decision. “We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.”

If allowed to take effect, Colorado’s secretary of state may not list Trump’s name on the 2024 presidential primary ballot, nor may she count any write-in votes cast for him.

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, blamed the decision on the “all-Democrat appointed” court, swearing to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The seven-member bench of Colorado’s Supreme Court was entirely appointed by Democratic governors; six later faced voters and won retention elections, while the seventh will do so next year.

“The Colorado Supreme Court issued a completely flawed decision tonight and we will swiftly file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court and a concurrent request for a stay of this deeply undemocratic decision,” Cheung said. “We have full confidence that the U.S. Supreme Court will quickly rule in our favor and finally put an end to these unAmerican lawsuits.”

Norma Anderson, a petitioner and former Republican majority leader of the Colorado House and Senate, said in a statement that the plaintiffs’ win bolstered their efforts to protect the state’s elections.

“My fellow plaintiffs and I brought this case to continue to protect the right to free and fair elections enshrined in our Constitution and to ensure Colorado Republican primary voters are only voting for eligible candidates,” Anderson said. “Today’s win does just that.”

…  .

The Colorado Supreme Court decision has been stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether Trump is barred by the Civil War-era provision, which prohibits those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.

The link to the quoted news source is here:

The link to read the full Colorado Supreme court ruling is here:,to%20the%20U.S.%20Supreme%20Court.


On December 28, Maine’s Democratic Secretary of State Shenna Bellows  removed former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot under the Constitution’s insurrection clause, becoming the first election official to take action unilaterally as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to decide whether Trump remains eligible to return to the White House.

Bellows found that Trump could no longer run for his prior job because his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol violated Section 3, which bans from office those who “engaged in insurrection.” Bellows made the ruling after some state residents, including a bipartisan group of former lawmakers, challenged Trump’s position on the ballot.

Bellows issued the decision after presiding over an administrative hearing earlier this month about Trump’s eligibility for office. A bipartisan group of former state lawmakers filed the challenge against Trump. In her decision, Bellows concluded that she has a legal obligation to adhere to the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist ban and remove Trump from the primary ballot.

Bellows wrote in part in her 34-page decision:

“I do not reach this conclusion lightly. … I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection. … The oath I swore to uphold the Constitution comes first above all, and my duty under Maine’s election laws … is to ensure that candidates who appear on the primary ballot are qualified for the office they seek”

The Trump campaign immediately slammed the ruling.  Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement:

“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter”.

The Trump campaign said it would appeal Bellows’ decision to Maine’s state courts. Bellows suspended her ruling until that court system rules on the case.

Legal experts said that Thursday’s ruling demonstrates the need for the nation’s highest court, which has never ruled on Section 3, to clarify what states can do.

Links to quoted news sources are here:


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is also pushing to remove Trump from State Ballots. CREW was successful in its effort to remove a New Mexico County Commissioner Couy Griffin from his post due to his participation in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A district judge in New Mexico barred Otero County commissioner and “Cowboys for Trump” founder Couy Griffin, citing a clause in the 14th Amendment that prohibits those who have engaged in insurrection from serving. Griffin was convicted of a misdemeanor trespass charge. The judge’s ruling was the first time in 150 years that the provision has been used to disqualify an official and the first time that a court has ruled the events of January 6 were an “insurrection.”

Griffin was arrested on January 8, 2021, on a federal misdemeanor trespassing charge related to the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Griffin was convicted of the charge on March 22 and sentenced on June 17 to 14 days’ time served, ordered to pay $500 restitution, pay a $3,000 fine, complete community service and one year of supervised release.

Following Trump’s announcement that he would make a third bid for the White House, CREW released a statement saying it would work to ensure that Trump is disqualified from ever holding office again.  A statement from CREW said this:

“We warned him that should he decide to run again, we would be taking action to ensure the Constitution’s ban on insurrectionists holding office is enforced.  Now we will be. Trump made a mockery of the Constitution he swore to defend, but we will see that it is defended.”

In an interview with ABC News, a CREW official said its focus now is doing whatever possible to keep Trump off the ballot. CREW Executive Vice President and Chief Counsel Donald Sherman said this:

“I will say we are focused on winning. We are not focused on getting our name in the paper … We are focused on bringing the strongest cases possible in order to win and hold the former President accountable. And we are making the strategic choices in order to effectuate that.”

Griffin has now announced that he is appealing his case to the United States Supreme Court.


Former President Donald Trump is among a slate of presidential candidates New Mexico’s major political parties certified on December 22  to appear on the state’s June 4 primary ballots amid uncertainty about whether any state can bar the former president from contention under anti-insurrection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

Trump is among five contenders for the GOP nomination who a presidential primary nominating committee certified for New Mexico’s primary ballot. The Republican Party reserved the option to withdraw candidates from the primary until mid-February if any drop out of national contention.

For now, the certified Republican candidates include former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.


Donald J. Trump is the first American President to be impeached twice and the first former president in American history to be charged with  both state and  federal crimes in four separate criminal indictments in 4 separate states.

The four criminal indictments will proceed through the Republican primary season, an overlap of legal and political calendars with no precedent in American politics. Fifteen states and American Samoa hold their GOP primaries on March 5, known as Super Tuesday, which is also the day after his first trial is scheduled to begin in Washington on charges that he unlawfully sought to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump is dominating the Republican field and may secure much of the support he needs by Super Tuesday, by which time almost half of delegates who select the nominee at the GOP convention will have been awarded. Even if he were to be convicted in Washington or another trial, top party leaders and many voters have indicated they would stand by Trump anyway. And Trump and his allies are pushing to dismiss and delay the trials and have worked with state parties to craft rules favorable to him.

The Republican National Convention rules do not include any provisions specific to the unprecedented scenario unfolding. Bound delegates must vote for a particular presidential candidate at the convention based on the results of the primary or caucus in their state. As in past years, every state party must bind its delegates to vote for their assigned candidates during at least the first round of voting at the national convention, with limited exceptions for a small number of delegates. A candidate wins the nomination if they clinch a majority, which is 1,215 delegates.

Although the Colorado and Main rulings remain on hold until Trump’s appeals are resolved, enabling his name to remain on the ballot in the meantime, the US Supreme Court decision to hear the Colorado case equips the Supreme Court to provide a national resolution in advance of the general election.

Trump’s political fate now lies in the hands of the conservative-majority United State Supreme Court, which includes three Trump appointees and that has never squarely resolved the meaning of the 14th Amendment’s insurrection ban. But that may not matter anyway.

The current Supreme court conservative majority has reversed long standing cases, including a woman’s right to an abortion, arguing state’s rights are controlling. Complicating matters for the Supreme Court is that all states have laws that control requirements that must be met for a person to appear on the ballot and for that matter have processes in place to decide who can be disqualified and removed from the ballot and on what grounds.

We are about to see just how very political the United States Supreme Court has become especially if it rules that States can not decide who can be removed from the ballot.

Colorado Supreme Court Ruling Kicks Trump Off Ballot; Michigan Supreme Court Keeps Trump On Ballot; Main Secretary of State Kicks Trump Off Ballot; Analysis and Commentary: US Supreme Court Front And Center Of Trump’s Fate

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.