Jena Griswold, the Colorado secretary of state, said she would obey whatever ruling was in place on Jan. 5, 2024, the state’s deadline for certifying candidates to the primary ballot. Ms. Griswold, a Democrat, is responsible for that certification, and the effect of Judge Wallace’s ruling was to order her to include Mr. Trump.
But, while emphasizing that she was not saying whether the judge was right or wrong about the scope of Section 3, she said she found the notion that the presidency was excluded “deeply problematic.”
“The idea that the presidency itself is a get-out-of-jail-free card for insurrection and rebellion, I think, is striking,” she said in an interview Friday night. Referring to Judge Wallace’s conclusion that Mr. Trump had engaged in insurrection, she added: “I think that court determination in itself is incredibly powerful for the country.”
The decision followed a weeklong trial in which lawyers for the plaintiffs called eight witnesses to build their case for Mr. Trump’s disqualification, relying in particular on the testimony of two professors.
Peter Simi, an expert on political extremism, testified that far-right groups routinely relied on implicit, plausibly deniable calls for violence, and that Mr. Trump had communicated with them in that way — an argument presented to rebut the defense that he never explicitly told anyone to storm the Capitol. And Gerard Magliocca, an expert on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, testified that at the time it was ratified, “engaging in insurrection” had been understood to include verbal incitement of force to prevent the execution of the law.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers called one expert, Robert Delahunty, a law professor who testified that Section 3 was vague and that it should be up to Congress to define it. Their other witnesses included a former Defense Department official who said Mr. Trump had pre-emptively authorized the use of National Guard troops to prevent violence on Jan. 6 — followed by people who were at Mr. Trump’s rally on the Ellipse that day, who testified that they had not heard his words as a call to violence and that the crowd had been peaceful before part of it turned violent.