Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and firms representing the voters—Tierney Lawrence Stiles LLC, KBN Law LLC, and Olson Grimsley Kawanabe Hinchcliff & Murray LLC—argue that "Trump is constitutionally ineligible to assume the office of the president" because he "knowingly and voluntarily aided and incited the insurrection" before and on January 6.
"As a longtime Republican who voted for him, I believe Donald Trump disqualified himself from running in 2024 by spreading lies, vilifying election workers, and fomenting an attack on the Capitol," plaintiff Krista Kafer, a Denver Post columnist and GOP activist, said in a statement. "Those who by force and by falsehood subvert democracy are unfit to participate in it."
Other plaintiffs include ex-elected officials who live in the state. Among them is former Colorado House and Senate Majority Leader Norma Anderson, who left the GOP to become an Independent in 2021.
"Spending 19 years as a state legislator and serving in leadership gave me the opportunity to work across the aisle and to always work to protect the freedoms our Constitution has given us as citizens," she said. "I am proud to continue that work by bringing this lawsuit and ensuring the eligibility of candidates on Colorado ballots."
The other four plaintiffs are former GOP Congresswoman Claudine (Cmarada) Schneider; Kathi Wright, a previous member of the Loveland City Council; Christopher Castilian, an ex-deputy chief of staff for the state's last GOP governor; and Michelle Priola, "who has been active in Republican politics and is also married to Republican-turned-Democratic state Sen. Kevin Priola," according toThe Denver Post.
"In my decade of service in the House of Representatives, I certified multiple presidential elections and saw firsthand the importance of ethics, the rule of law, and the peaceful transfer of power in our democracy," said Schneider. "This lawsuit is crucial to protecting and fortifying those fundamental democratic values, and I'm honored to be a part of it."
"If the very fabric of our democracy is to hold, we must ensure that the Constitution is enforced and the same people who attacked our democratic system not be put in charge of it."
While there have not been many applications of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment throughout U.S. history, CREW has previously documented some and last year was involved with a successful legal battle in New Mexico to remove Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin from office for participating in the January 6 insurrection.
"If the very fabric of our democracy is to hold, we must ensure that the Constitution is enforced and the same people who attacked our democratic system not be put in charge of it," CREW president Noah Bookbinder declared Wednesday. "We aren't bringing this case to make a point, we're bringing it because it is necessary to defend our republic both today and in the future."
"While it is unprecedented to bring this type of case against a former president, January 6th was an unprecedented attack that is exactly the kind of event the framers of the 14th Amendment wanted to build protections in case of," Bookbinder added. "You don't break the glass unless there's an emergency."
The Colorado lawsuit was filed a day after Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison—the longest insurrection-related sentence so far, followed by 18 years for Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes. They were both convicted of seditious conspiracy.
The suit also comes as Trump has been indicted this year due to two federal investigations led by Special Counsel Jack Smith as well as probes in Georgia and New York. The Georgia case and one of the federal cases involve his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
So far, polling has indicated Trump's legal issues have not dissuaded many GOP voters, and the candidate has used the 91 felony charges against him to rally supporters—as a campaign representative did in response to the new suit. As NBC Newsreported:
Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung slammed the voters behind the lawsuit, saying in a statement that they're "people who are pursuing this absurd conspiracy theory and political attack on President Trump."
They "are stretching the law beyond recognition much like the political prosecutors in New York, Georgia, and D.C.," Cheung added. "There is no legal basis for this effort except in the minds of those who are pushing it."
Democratic Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold—named as the defendant in the lawsuit because of her position—said in a statement that "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."
Griswold is among election officials in several key states who have recently received letters from Free Speech for People and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund urging them to keep Trump off the ballot because of the 14th Amendment.
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams and was authored by Newswire Editor.