AP FACT CHECK: False Report Targets Colorado Justice Who Voted To Disqualify Trump From 2024 Primary Ballot

Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica M. Marquez, front, makes a point as Chief Justice Brian D. Boatright listens during a hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023 in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Published 11:17 AM PST, December 22, 2023

CLAIM: The U.S. Marines arrested Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Márquez for voting to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The claim originated on a website that says it publishes “humor, parody, and satire” and has previously posted similar false stories. A spokesperson for the Colorado Judicial Department confirmed that the allegation has “no legitimacy.”

THE FACTS: Following the court’s decision on Tuesday that Trump is ineligible for the White House under the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause, some on social media are sharing an article falsely claiming that the Marine Corps arrested one of the justices who was among the majority.

“You mean you have to be UNbiased to be a scj?!” reads one Instagram post that included a screenshot of the story and had received more than 2,000 likes as of Friday. “Who would have thought!”

But there is no truth to this claim.

The article is from Real Raw News, a site that frequently publishes fabricated stories and includes a disclaimer stating that it “contains humor, parody, and satire.” Many of its posts involve made-up stories about the Marine Corps, citing only anonymous military sources. The site did not return a request for comment.

No credible evidence was provided in the article to support its claims. It cited only an anonymous source “in General Eric M. Smith’s office,” the same reference used in numerous prior erroneous posts.

Additionally, the article includes a fanciful narrative in which Marines are sent to arrest the four justices who voted in favor of the decision, finding only Márquez, who allegedly “shrieked at the top of her lungs” when the Marines stormed her home and asked whether Trump had sent them.

Colorado Judicial Department spokesperson Rob McCallum told The Associated Press that “there is no legitimacy” to the claims made in the post.

“Justice Márquez has not been arrested by the Marines, and is not in custody,” he wrote in an email.

The Marine Corps did not respond to a request for comment.

Colorado’s highest court voted 4-3 this week that Trump is ineligible for the presidency under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and removed him from the state’s presidential primary ballot. It is the first time in history that the clause has been used to disqualify a presidential candidate.

The court stayed its decision until Jan. 4, or until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the case.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.