On Dec. 21, 2023, satirical website Real Raw News published an article positing that one of the four Colorado Supreme Court justices who had ruled that former U.S. President Donald Trump should not appear on the state's 2024 ballot was arrested by U.S. Marines on grounds of treason. The article was a work of fiction.
The webpage received more than 1,100 comments; the claim was also posted on a Reddit channel titled r/insanepeoplefacebook, receiving at least 2,200 upvotes and almost 500 comments.
(Image via Reddit account @SurvivorFanatic236)
The article began:
Marines Arrest Colorado SCJ Who Voted to Remove President Trump from State Ballot
United States Marines on Wednesday arrested on charges of treason one of the four Colorado Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of removing President Donald J. Trump’s name from the state’s 2024 ballot, a source in General Eric M. Smith’s office told Real Raw News.
Gen. Smith sent Marines to Colorado after Vice Adm. Crandall compared the court’s 230-page ruling against Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that “No person shall … hold any office, civil or military, under the United States … who, having previously taken an oath … as an officer of the United States … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
According to the article, Justice Monica Márquez was the only judge who was apprehended. Her alleged arrest was described in significant detail; however, as mentioned above, no such event ever took place.
That's because this item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:
Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.
According to a fact check published by The Associated Press on Dec. 22, a spokesperson for the Colorado Judicial Department confirmed that the allegation that Justice Márquez was arrested has “no legitimacy.”
The satirical article was pegged to actual news in recent days that Colorado justices ruled to disqualify Trump from the state 2024 ballot due to the insurrection clause of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.