The brief stated that the rulings would ultimately lead to “chaos” not limited to a single candidate or election. “Once state courts begin purging candidates from the ballot, political opponents will begin picking each other off, harming confidence in our electoral processes.” In support of their argument, they cited attempts by Republicans in Texas and other states to boot President Joe Biden from the presidential ticket over immigration.
The brief supports Trump’s appeal of Colorado’s 4-3 ruling that the former president is disqualified from running for president. The Colorado court found his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which it said qualified as an insurrection, made him ineligible under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and barred him from a second term as president.
“Liberal judges and bureaucrats do not outweigh the voice of the voters,” said RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel in a statement. “The effort to remove Donald Trump from the presidential ballot is an attack on our electoral system and we will not rest until this election interference is stopped.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee also filed an amicus brief supporting Trump with the Supreme Court earlier this week.
The briefs demonstrate the extent to which Republicans are using the decisions to bar the GOP frontrunner from the ballot to drum up political support over Trump’s numerous legal problems. Republicans have sought to use the rulings to cast Democrats as being anti-democratic.
Colorado’s ruling is “election interference thinly veiled as a legal decision,” said NRCC Chair Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) in a statement. He concluded that “the people decide their president — not anyone else.”
The effort also comes on the same day Biden is expected to press a public case that Trump sought to subvert the will of voters in 2020 when he attempted to remain in power despite losing the presidential election. His remarks are timed for the approaching third anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack.
Trump’s legal team appealed the Colorado court’s ruling earlier this week and also appealed a similar decision by Maine’s Democratic secretary of state, Shenna Bellows, to bar him from Maine’s ballot.
The Supreme Court is widely expected to take up the case, and Trump remains on both states’ ballots while the appeals process plays out.
The rallying effect of the three main Republican committees around Trump’s legal case comes as the first nominating contest in Iowa is just 10 days away. The RNC, which has vowed to remain neutral in the GOP primary, has repeatedly been accused by Trump’s rivals of siding with the former president in the contest, where Trump continues to hold a dominant lead in the polls.
But the rulings have had a unifying effect for Republicans, including Trump’s primary challengers, who have widely condemned the decisions and supported Trump’s appeals efforts.
According to a spokesperson, the RNC said it would extend this same defense to any candidate in the Republican presidential field, and the RNC and NRCC have also filed similar briefs in Minnesota and Michigan, where similar challenges have so far been unsuccessful.
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.