Charles Hoskinson, founder of the Cardano (ADA) blockchain, weighed in this week on the recent Colorado Supreme Court decision that bars former president Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 presidential ballot.
In a video monologue, Hoskinson discussed his passion for formal systems and constitutional law. He then turned to the Colorado ruling, calling it “almost like the political Rorschach test “.
He said: “If you’re a Republican, it’s an outrage and wrong.
“If you’re a Democrat, oh, it’s completely legitimate interpretation of the Constitution.”
The Colorado court based its decision on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, known as the “insurrection clause.” This provision bars anyone from federal or state office who previously took an oath to uphold the Constitution but then “engaged” in “insurrection or rebellion” against it.
Hoskinson argued that the 14th Amendment does not explicitly require a conviction or due process standard for disqualification. He said constitutional analysis requires examining documents in their totality and finding ways to make provisions compatible.
The Cardano founder said that Trump, who was president between 2017 and 2021 and lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 election, had a “God-given right” to run for office. He added: “To disqualify him, you kind of need to have some notion of due process for that evidence to be presented for that. He’s innocent until proven guilty.”
In his view, the 5th Amendment , which prevents Americans from being deprived of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” may conflict with the Colorado court’s interpretation of the 14th amendment, which has been used to disqualify Trump, currently far-and-away the favorite to be the Republican nominee.
He said: “You have to have equal application of these things to stay compatible with other amendments.
“It’s very similar to freedom of speech. An absolute interpretation would seem to suggest you can say anything, regardless of the consequences.”
Hoskinson called the Colorado decision “a humongous judicial overreach” that will likely be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, he said it raises questions about intersections between co-equal branches of government, where definitions are unclear.
He added: “If we’re going to write a good constitution, we have to get rid of as much ambiguity as possible.”
The Cardano ecosystem is currently developing a machine-readable constitution to govern its rules and behaviors. He said defining rights and governance guardrails for users requires the same kind of precision and lack of ambiguity as the US national constitution.
He pointed to the right to run for office as an example. The Colorado decision deprived Trump of this “liberty right” without due process, Hoskinson argued. Cardano’s constitution needs to address whether transactions can be frozen or ADA holdings revoked without due process.
He added: “Your ADA, under what circumstances can you lose it?. “Can a transaction be frozen or reversed? Currently, that’s not possible in the system.
“If you’d like that to be a constitutional right and negative right, we can certainly put that in.”
In building what he called “can’t be evil by design” systems, Hoskinson advocated moving from prose to mathematical specifications. He promoted the constructed language Lojban as an example, saying its unambiguous grammar is perfect for translating laws and rules.
Through improving institutions like blockchain, Hoskinson concluded, society can “rebuild systems that are substantially better” than the degraded government systems currently in place.