Colorado Brief In Trump Ballot Disqualification Case: Favorite Quotes

Keith
3 min readJan 26, 2024

Today the six citizens (four Republicans and two independents) in Colorado attempting to keep Trump off the ballot there filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of their position. You can read it HERE:

This is my favorite quote from it: “Bedlam” Judo

The thrust of Trump’s position is less legal than it is political. He not-so-subtly threatens ‘bedlam’ if he is not on the ballot. But we already saw the ‘bedlam’ Trump unleashed when he was on the ballot and lost.”

Brilliant turning of Trump’s own bedlam argument against him.

Other Quotes: Was It An Insurrection?

Trump has now abandoned his argument that the January 6 attack was not an ‘insurrection’ against ‘the Constitution of the United States’ for purposes of Section 3. For good reason.”

The Colorado Brief cites pp. 33–38 of Trump’s brief for this claim. You can read it HERE. In those pages Trump does not contest that what occurred was an insurrection (nor does he do so anywhere else), rather he only claims that he did not “engage” in it.

Did Trump Engage In The Insurrection?

All those who perform any part, however minute, or however remote from the scene of action, and who are actually leagued in the general conspiracy, are to be considered as traitors.” -Quoting Ex parte Bollman, 8 U.S. 75 (1807).

The brief went on to say:

Requiring the individual to personally commit violent acts would also defeat a core purpose of Section 3: to target leaders rather than foot soldiers. Leaders rarely take up arms themselves.” (emphasis added)

A bit more about that Bollman case. Those accused of treason (including Aaron Burr) discussed bringing assembling men against the government, but the mob never formed. The court found that:

Any assemblage of men for the purpose of revolutionizing by force the government established by the United States in any of its territories, although as a step to or the means of executing some greater projects, amounts to levying war. The traveling of individuals to the place of rendezvous is not sufficient, but the meeting of particular bodies of men and their marching from places of partial to a place of general rendezvous is such an assemblage as constitutes a levying of war.”

The Supreme Court acquitted them because the required “assemblage” against the government never happened. On January 6th that assemblage did happen and it assembled as a direct result of the words of then President Trump.

Incitement To Insurrection

The idea that Trump’s words were unlikely to incite imminent lawlessness, even though Trump intended them to do so and even though they in fact did so, fails even the most forgiving of red-face tests. For obvious reasons, the First Amendment does not protect mob bosses who deliberately incite violence through thinly veiled language they know their audience will understand.

​​​​​​​Even sharp-edged political speech is protected by the First Amendment. But incitement is not, and the dividing line between the two depends on context . . . Words that might be protected if uttered in a sterile conference room lose protection when delivered in fiery tones to an agitated crowd that the speaker has spent months priming for violence.”

Yet another mob boss reference to Trump.

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Keith

Retired lawyer & Army vet in The Villages of Florida. Lifelong: Republican (pre-Trump), Constitution buff, science nerd & dog lover. Twitter: @KeithDB80