In a move marked by controversy and unprecedented in nature, the Colorado Supreme Court, which is composed entirely of justices appointed by Democrats, delivered a narrow 4-3 decision on Tuesday to exclude former President Donald Trump from participating in the state’s 2024 Republican primary ballot.
The four justices responsible for the decision are: Richard L. Gabriel, Melissa Hart, Monica Márquez, and William W. Hood III. Each of these justices, appointed by Democratic governors, has a background that has since come under scrutiny in light of the ruling.
The decision, invoking Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies individuals involved in insurrection from holding federal office, has resulted in intense criticism. The ruling has been seen by many as a partisan maneuver, setting a dangerous precedent in American politics.
Justice Richard L. Gabriel, a Yale University and University of Pennsylvania Law School alumnus, was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in June 2015. His tenure has not been without controversy. In 2021, he was accused of harassment by a female law clerk according to the Denver Post.
Justice Melissa Hart, a Harvard Law School graduate, joined the Colorado Supreme Court in December 2017. Before her appointment, she was a professor at the University of Colorado Law School. Hart was implicated in a discrimination lawsuit filed by a black job applicant at the Supreme Court, which was eventually dismissed, according to the Daily Mail. Michele Brown had alleged that Hart and other judges were guilty of racial and age discrimination for not selecting her for a rules attorney position.
Justice Monica Márquez, who attended Stanford University and Yale Law School, made history as the first Latina and openly gay justice on the Colorado Supreme Court with her appointment in 2010. Her decision in the Trump ballot case has been criticized as being influenced more by political leanings than legal merit.
Justice William W. Hood III, a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, was appointed in January 2014. The Post Millennial was quick to point out that every Colorado justice involved in the decision to disqualify Trump from the ballot is an alumnus of a prestigious East Coast universities.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision, led by these four justices, has become a lightning rod for controversy.
The decision to disqualify Trump has been met with fierce opposition, particularly among conservatives who view it as a blatant example of judicial overreach and a dangerous politicization of the legal system. Legal experts and Trump’s campaign have condemned the ruling as a partisan attack, jeopardizing the integrity of the judiciary and the democratic principle of letting voters decide their leaders.
“Democrat Party leaders are in a state of paranoia over the growing, dominant lead President Trump has amassed in the polls. They have lost faith in the failed Biden presidency and are now doing everything they can to stop the American voters from throwing them out of office next November,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung wrote.
The ruling’s potential impact on Trump’s eligibility in other states and the broader implications for the presidential election have intensified the debate. Justice Carlos Samour, one of the dissenting justices, voiced his critique of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to ban Trump.
Samour wrote after the ruling, “The decision to bar former President Donald J. Trump — by all accounts the current leading Republican presidential candidate (and reportedly the current leading overall presidential candidate) — from Colorado’s presidential primary ballot flies in the face of the due process doctrine.”
“This can’t possibly be the outcome the framers intended,” he wrote.