Colorado supreme court justices face death threats after Trump ruling
"Report finds ‘significant violent rhetoric’ against justices and Democrats online after ruling to exclude Trump from ballot
Justices on the Colorado supreme court are receiving a barrage of death threats after it ruled to exclude Donald Trump from the state’s presidential ballot next year because of his attempts to cause insurrection.
A report compiled by Advance Democracy, a non-partisan non-profit organization, said there was “significant violent rhetoric” against the justices and Democrats on social media, according to NBC News.
Some of the worst of it was posted on fringe websites, including one post that said “behead judges” and “slam dunk a judge’s baby into the trash can”.
Another post on The Donald, a pro-Trump forum where a Trump supporter once publicly bragged about his involvement with the January 6 insurrection and was arrested as a result, said “this ends when we kill these fuckers”.
“The normalization of this type of violent rhetoric – and lack of remedial action by social media entities – is cause for significant concern,” Daniel J Jones, president of Advance Democracy, told NBC News.
“Political leaders on both sides of the political aisle need to speak out against these calls for violence, and social media platforms need to reassess their role in hosting and promoting this rhetoric.”
Advance Democracy noted that some violent posts are in direct response to Trump’s own furious posts about the ruling on Truth Social. Trump has called it “election interference” and implied it proves the 2020 election was stolen, the lie that eventually led to the January 6 insurrection.
It isn’t the first time Trump’s posts and comments have incited threats against a court. A New York court reported last month that the office of the judge overseeing Trump’s fraud trial had been bombarded with death threats and antisemitic abuse, including some levied against the judge’s law clerk. The office received multiple threatening voicemails, including one that told the judge “you should be assassinated … you should be executed”. Another said: “We are coming to remove you permanently.”
Trump’s lawyers in his fraud trial argued that the former president, who faces 91 criminal charges and is an adjudicated rapist, has no control over those who levy violent threats.
Meanwhile, the court’s ruling has shaken Washington, with Republicans railing against the decision, Democrats defending the court’s ruling and legal scholars presenting a variety of views.
In an unusual move, Dean Phillips, a Democratic representative from Minnesota who is running a long-shot campaign against Joe Biden, criticized the ruling on social media, making him one of the few Democrats disagreeing with the Colorado court.
“Do I believe Trump is guilty of inspiring an insurrection and doing nothing to stop it? I was there. Absolutely. Do I believe it’s wrong to ban him from the ballot in Colorado without a conviction? Absolutely,” Phillips wrote on X. “Do I believe the SCOTUS must opine immediately? Absolutely.”
Other Democrats have praised the ruling. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a close ally of Biden, called it “striking” and said it is “undeniable in my view that [Trump] participated in an insurrection and as such should be disqualified from holding federal office.”