Trump asked to move lawsuit seeking to boot him from 2024 ballot in Colorado to federal court

Former President Donald Trump asked to have a Colorado lawsuit aimed at kicking him off the 2024 ballot in the state moved to federal court.

In a court filing on Thursday, lawyers for Trump argued the suit brought earlier this week by a group of six voters should be moved from state court to federal court because it centers on the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which holds that no person shall hold any office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after having taken an oath to support the Constitution.

"This case arises under the 14th Amendment. Although Plaintiffs have drafted their Verified Petition in a manner that ostensibly relies on state claims, in fact every state claim — indeed every effort to bar Trump from running for President — relies solely on the application of U.S. Const. 14th Amend, Sec. 3," Trump wrote in his filing.

Therefore, he argued, the case should be heard in federal court — where he could have additional legal defenses.

Then in a motion filed by the petitioners on Friday, Trump’s lawyers, apparently upon further consideration, realized that they do not have standing to move this case to federal court and are not opposing it’s return to state court.

The case must be automatically returned to state court because federal courts lack subject matter jurisdiction over the specific claims made by petitioners and Jena Griswold, the Democratic Colorado secretary of state who is co-respondent alongside Trump, did not consent to removing the case to federal court, according to the filing.

“Both the constitutional lack of standing and failure to comply with statutory removal requirements compel remand here,” the petitioners write. “Because the grounds for remand are clear and dictated by binding precedent, and because no party opposes this motion to remand, Petitioners respectfully request that the Court resolve this motion without a hearing and without awaiting an opposition.”

The initial Trump filing signaled mounting concern from the former president and his allies about efforts to get him removed from the ballot in numerous states based the Civil War-era section of the amendment. New Hampshire, Arizona and Michigan are also facing or are preparing for challenges to Trump’s eligibility to be on the 2024 presidential ballot.

Trump, who'd previously largely ignored chatter about efforts to kick him off the ballot, has been more vocal in recent days, calling the moves "nonsense" and "election interference."

“This is like a banana republic,” Trump said Thursday in an interview with conservative radio host Dan Bongino. “And what they’re doing is, it’s called election interference. ... Now the 14th Amendment is just a continuation of that.”

He also complained about it on Monday in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, writing: “Almost all legal scholars have voiced opinions that the 14th Amendment has no legal basis or standing relative to the upcoming 2024 Presidential Election. Like Election Interference, it is just another 'trick' being used by the Radical Left Communists, Marxists, and Fascists."

Some legal scholars, however, including some conservative ones, have said the effort may have some validity.

Representatives for Trump had no immediate comment Friday.

The left-leaning government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and several law firms filed the Colorado suit Wednesday on behalf of four Republican and two unaffiliated voters.

It contends that "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."

"Four years after taking an oath to 'preserve, protect and defend' the Constitution as President of the United States," the suit says, "Trump tried to overthrow the results of the 2020 election, leading to a violent insurrection at the United States Capitol to stop the lawful transfer of power to his successor. By instigating this unprecedented assault on the American constitutional order, Trump violated his oath and disqualified himself under the Fourteenth Amendment from holding public office, including the Office of the President."

It seeks to have a court remove Trump from the 2024 ballot and declare that it would be “improper” and “a breach or neglect of duty” for Griswold to allow his name to appear on any future primary or general election ballots.

In a statement on Wednesday, Griswold said: “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.”

Jordan Libowitz, a spokesperson for CREW, said Friday: "We do not believe removal to federal court was proper," and the group "will be filing a motion to remand to state court soon."

Trump blasted CREW on Truth Social late Friday afternoon, saying "the group suing me in Colorado to ridiculously try and Unconstitutionally keep me off the ballot" is "composed of many slime balls."

In a statement this week announcing the lawsuit, CREW noted the 14th Amendment has “not been tested often in the last 150 years, due to lack of insurrections.”

"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. You don’t break the glass unless there’s an emergency,” said the group's president, Noah Bookbinder.

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