Norma Anderson had already earned her spot in the Colorado history books before becoming the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking to disqualify Donald Trump from office.
The standoff against Trump is one final chapter in the 91-year-old’s storied political career, which includes stints as the first-ever woman majority leader in both chambers of the Colorado legislature.
“I didn’t realize I would go down in history as Anderson versus Trump,” she told CNN in an interview.
The case she’s referring to – now Trump v. Anderson – revolves around Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bans insurrectionists from holding public office. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in December that the ban applies to Trump because of the January 6, 2021, insurrection, and the former president is now asking the US Supreme Court to overturn that decision.
Anderson first got involved when Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, recruited her to join their Denver-based lawsuit, which began as a case against Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who controls ballot access in the state. (At that stage, the case was known as Anderson v. Griswold.)
“They came to me and asked if I would be interested,” Anderson said. “And I said absolutely.”
But before embarking on the unprecedented case against Trump, Anderson made plenty of history of her own.
She spent 12 years in the statehouse, before having to leave due to term limits. While there, from 1997 to 1998, she was the majority leader of the lower chamber. After that, she won a seat in the state Senate, and spent seven years there. She similarly reached the post of majority leader in 2003.
She was the first woman to hold both senior positions.
While serving in the Colorado statehouse, Anderson focused on education, transportation and health care, according to a biography from the Jefferson County Historical Commission, which honored her in 2011 with a spot in their hall of fame. She helped enact legislation to improve child literacy and lower the cost of in-state colleges and established a home nursing program with funds from a landmark lawsuit against the large tobacco companies.
A lifelong Republican, Anderson left the Colorado legislature in 2006, as the state’s politics started shifting. She told CNN she still identifies as a Republican.
Asked who she is supporting in the 2024 presidential election, Anderson said, “If Nikki Haley makes the ballot, she has my vote.”
She had fit in with the state’s politics, too – from 1968 through 2004, Coloradans voted for all but one Republican presidential nominee. But Colorado started taking a turn amid the Barack Obama wave of 2008, and has been won by every Democratic nominee ever since he flipped the state that year.
“I’m an old-fashioned Republican that believes in strong defense, supporting business, and helping those who don’t know how to help themselves, and less government, and a fair tax base,” Anderson said.
Battling Trump – especially in court – comes with acclaim in some circles, and vitriol in others. Anderson said she has received a lot of support from friends and family, except for one or two holdouts who are still die-hard Trump supporters. She said most of her friends weren’t surprised that she got involved in the case.
“I was born four months before FDR was elected,” Anderson said. “I’ve lived through a lot of presidents. Some I liked, some I didn’t. But not one of them caused an insurrection, until Donald Trump.”
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