How Gorsuch made the case for banning Trump from the ballot (LISA NEEDHAM, DEC 21, 2023, Public Notice)
The Colorado Republican State Central Committee (CRSCC) intervened in the lawsuit, arguing that any determination about Trump’s qualifications to be on the ballot interfered with the party’s First Amendment right of association to choose its candidates. However, putting aside the whole insurrection issue, the United States Constitution sets out several conditions that have to be met for a person to be qualified to run for president. You must be a “natural born citizen,” at least 35, and have lived in the United States for at least 14 years. The CRSCC’s position, the Colorado Supreme Court pointed out, would allow them to place anyone on the ballot even if they didn’t meet these constitutional qualifications.
Trump also tried to argue that he is not barred from running for office because he’s an insurrectionist but only from holding office as an insurrectionist. This is absurd on its face, and the Colorado Supreme Court was able to dispose of that argument thanks to Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Back in 2012, Gorsuch was a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. In that capacity, he wrote the panel opinion in Hassan v. Colorado. Hassan, a naturalized citizen, sued Colorado, arguing it was required to put him on the presidential ballot even though he was not a natural-born citizen and was therefore not constitutionally qualified to run for president. The Tenth Circuit ruled against him, with Gorsuch writing that states have “a legitimate interest in protecting the integrity and practical functioning of the political process” and that because of that, they can “exclude from the ballot candidates who are constitutionally prohibited from assuming office.” It’s that quote that makes its way into the Colorado Supreme Court opinion.