In the wake of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to bar former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballots, California Lieutenant Gov. Eleni Kounalakis is calling upon California’s Secretary of State to “explore every legal option” for a similar disqualification.
In a letter dated December 20, addressed to Secretary of State Shirley Weber, Kounalakis referenced Colorado’s recent ruling, which deemed Trump ineligible for the state’s presidential ballot due to his alleged role in “inciting an insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Kounalakis, who has launched a gubernatorial campaign for 2026, emphasized the importance of upholding the rule of law and safeguarding the fundamental pillars of democracy. Quoting the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision in Anderson v. Griswold (2023 CO 63), she highlighted that Trump’s alleged insurrection qualifies as grounds for disqualification under section three of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In her letter
Kounalakis asserted, “Because the candidate is ineligible, it would be a ‘wrongful act’ for the California Secretary of State to list him as a candidate on that state’s presidential primary ballot.”
She urged California to “stand on the right side of history” and asserted that the state is obligated to determine whether the former president is ineligible for the same reasons as in Colorado. Importantly, Kounalakis framed this matter not as political gamesmanship but as a critical concern threatening the sanctity of the constitution and democracy.
Colorado’s disqualification of Trump was grounded in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, specifically linked to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. The 4-3 ruling is temporarily stayed until January 4, pending likely appeals, with three dissenting justices on the Colorado Supreme Court.
“The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that Donald Trump is barred from the Colorado ballot for inciting the January 6 insurrection and attempting to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election. This decision may be appealed,” wrote Secretary of State Griswold.
Quoting the relevant section of the 14th Amendment, Kounalakis emphasized the disqualification criteria related to engaging in insurrection or rebellion, highlighting the gravity of the situation.