Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A Colorado judge is hearing arguments this week over a challenge to former President Donald Trump's eligibility to appear on the Republican primary ballot for 2024.
The hearing, which began Monday and is expected to last a week, will feature debate over whether the former president should be disqualified from running for re-election under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
District Judge Sarah B. Wallace said in the opening of the hearing that each side will be given 18 hours to present arguments.
Six Colorado voters have petitioned to challenge Trump's ballot eligibility. The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and multiple law firms are representing the voters. Their argument is that Trump aided and incited insurrectionists with his words and actions leading up to and throughout the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Eric Olson, former Colorado solicitor general and attorney representing the petitioners, told the court that "no serious person" contends with the notion that the attack on the U.S. Capitol was an insurrection.
"We are here because Trump claims, after all of that, he has the right to be president again," Olson said. "Our Constitution, our shared charter of our nation, says he cannot do so."
They will meet resistance from the Colorado Republican State Central Committee as well as Trump, who is not expected to appear. His legal team has pushed for the case to be taken to federal court to no avail.
The attorney defending Trump said the petitioners are seeking to do something unprecedented and the challenge is anti-First Amendment. He dismissed any talk of "dog whistles," saying the court should instead "look at what people say as we commonly understand them," rather than with the understanding that far-right extremists can understand hidden meanings.
Trump's attorney Scott Gessler also argued that the case against him is an attempt to get a court to endorse the Jan. 6 report that was commissioned by a House select committee. He called the report "poison" and "one-sided, cherry-picked information."
Olson said Trump did not do enough to call off rioters or protect the Capitol. Gessler cited Trump using the word "peacefully" during his speech at the Ellipse "at least four time" to argue that Trump did not stoke violence.
Wallace struck down Trump's argument that the courts do not have the authority to rule on his ballot eligibility last week.
Several notable witnesses will give testimony in the hearing. D.C. Metro police Officer Daniel Hodges, who was seen on camera being crushed by rioters during the Capitol attack, and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., testified on Monday.
Nine questions will be addressed throughout the hearing, according to a court filing by Wallace. Chief among them are the basis, history and meaning of Section 3, whether it applies to presidents, the meaning of the words "engaged" and "insurrection" in relation to Section 3 and whether Trump's actions meet the standards of the provision.