The Supreme Court in the US state of Colorado has declared former President Donald Trump ineligible for public office under the US Constitution’s insurrection clause. The ruling, passed by a 4-3 vote, marks the first time a presidential candidate has been disqualified under the provision barring insurrectionists from holding office.

The court’s decision ordered Trump’s removal from the state’s presidential primary ballot. The central question at hand is whether the 6 January attack on the Capitol constitutes an insurrection and whether Trump’s involvement disqualifies him from running for office.

The majority of the justices, all appointed by Democratic governors, cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment in disqualifying Trump from holding the office of president. Section 3 was enacted after the American Civil War to prevent former Confederates from returning to power.

Richard Friedman from the University of Michigan argues that Trump, by attempting to subvert the lawful processes for electing the president, violated his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the US Constitution.

Trump’s campaign, however, expressed confidence in appealing the decision to the US Supreme Court, aiming for a ruling in their favour. If the ruling is upheld, questions arise about whether it would be nationwide or if it would leave it to each state to determine Trump’s eligibility.

The ruling specifically affects the state’s Republican primary on 5 March, but it could have implications for Trump’s status in the general election on 5 November. Colorado is considered safely Democratic by nonpartisan election forecasters, suggesting a likely victory for President Biden regardless of Trump’s eligibility.

Advocacy groups and anti-Trump voters have pursued similar legal challenges under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to prevent Trump from running for office. The case in Colorado was initiated by a group of voters with support from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Attorney Sean Grimsley, representing the plaintiffs, notes that Trump betrayed his constitutional oath by engaging in insurrection, rendering himself ineligible for public office. Grimsley expresses hope that other states will follow Colorado’s lead in disqualifying former President Donald Trump.

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), characterises the decision as “election interference” in a social media post. McDaniel announces that the RNC legal team is prepared to fight for a victory against the decision. The remarks from both sides underscore the contentious nature of the case and its potential implications for Trump’s eligibility and the upcoming elections.

The ruling’s implementation is paused until 4 January to allow for appeals. If taken to the US Supreme Court, the pause will continue until the case is resolved.