Georgia joins effort to keep Trump on Colorado ballot

AG Chris Carr’s filing warns of ‘chaos’ in 2024 if Trump is ineligible
Attorney General Chris Carr greets President Donald Trump after he arrived at Dobbins Air Reserve Base on Nov. 8, 2019. AJC FILE PHOTO

Credit: Curtis Compton/AJC

Credit: Curtis Compton/AJC

Attorney General Chris Carr greets President Donald Trump after he arrived at Dobbins Air Reserve Base on Nov. 8, 2019. AJC FILE PHOTO

Georgia joined more than two dozen other states in supporting former President Donald Trump’s legal quest to remain on Colorado’s 2024 presidential ballot ahead of a high-stakes U.S. Supreme Court case that could shape the November election.

Attorney General Chris Carr argued in the court filing that the Colorado Supreme Court’s December decision to bar Trump from the ballot under the 14th Amendment would “create widespread chaos” in 2024 if allowed to stand.

“Most obviously, it casts confusion into an election cycle that is just weeks away. Beyond that, it upsets the respective roles of the Congress, the States, and the courts,” read the brief, filed by GOP attorneys general in 27 states.

The “friend of the court” filing on Saturday underlines how different GOP factions have coalesced behind Trump’s legal fight. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and other Republican groups have also joined the effort to overturn the Colorado court decision.

Carr’s role in the filing is also noteworthy. The second-term Republican has never been closely aligned with Trump, and rejected direct pressure from the then-president and his allies in 2020 to support a doomed Texas lawsuit that sought to toss out Georgia’s election results.

Attorney General Chris Carr shakes hands with then-President Donald Trump. Facebook.

Credit: Greg Bluestein

icon to expand image

Credit: Greg Bluestein

He later stepped down as chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association following a robocall from the group’s policy arm that urged people to march to the U.S. Capitol and “stop the steal” ahead of the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 attack.

Trump turned against Carr in 2022, endorsing a far-right attorney who staked his primary campaign on election fraud lies. Carr trounced his challenger, John Gordon, in the primary and defeated Democrat Jen Jordan in November.

Carr is now is expected to run for governor in 2026 to succeed Gov. Brian Kemp, who also walloped Trump’s handpicked Republican challenger. He said in a statement that the election “should be determined by the voters, not the courts.”

“Removing any candidate without due process sets a scary and dangerous precedent not only for this election but will also open the door to judicial skullduggery far into the future affecting both parties,” Carr said.

‘Out of control’

The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday it would take up arguments in the case on Feb. 8, and its decision could determine not only whether Trump will appear on Colorado’s primary ballot but also his eligibility to stand for election in other states.

The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling last month found that Trump violated the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause by seeking to reverse his 2020 defeat to President Joe Biden. It was the first time in U.S. history the 14th Amendment has been used to disqualify a presidential candidate.

In the court filing, Carr and the other AGs asked the court to present an “authoritative, consistent and uniform answer” that Trump is eligible to stand for election. They argued that future votes could “devolve into battles waged in state court over candidate eligibility” if the Colorado decision isn’t overturned.

“Many Americans will become convinced that a few partisan actors have contrived to take a political decision out of ordinary voters’ hands,” read the briefing, which warned of a situation that could soon be “spinning out of the control” if the court doesn’t intervene.

The legal feud also could have other implications in Georgia, where the state’s No. 2 politician also faces an ongoing lawsuit seeking to disqualify him on similar legal grounds.

A Georgia judge on Friday rejected the longshot legal challenge to disqualify Lt. Gov. Burt Jones from serving in office because of his role as a GOP elector and other efforts to overturn Trump’s defeat.

The lieutenant governor’s challengers plan to appeal the case to the Georgia Supreme Court in a legal fight that Jones panned as a Democratic attempt “to use the legal system to overrule the will of the voters.”