The Courts Reject Attempts to Remove Trump from 2024 Ballots
The Minnesota Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Claims have dismissed challenges seeking to remove former President Donald Trump’s name from the 2024 presidential primary election ballots. However, the possibility of his removal from general election ballots remains open. Similar cases are currently pending across the country, with a decision expected today in a Colorado lawsuit.
The lawsuits, brought by leftist activist organizations, argue that Trump’s presence near the White House during the Capitol protests on January 6, 2021, disqualifies him under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This section states that no person who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States shall hold any office.
“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.”
However, there are several issues with these lawsuits. Firstly, Trump has not been convicted of engaging in insurrection or rebellion by any federal court. Additionally, he was acquitted by the Senate in his second impeachment trial, which charged him with “Incitement of Insurrection.”
Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, raises doubts about the validity of Section 3 as a constitutional provision. He points out that Congress has the power to remove the disqualification provision with a two-thirds vote, which it did in 1872 and 1898 through the passage of two Amnesty Acts.
In Minnesota, the state Supreme Court declined to consider Trump’s removal from general election ballots, citing the issue as premature. They stated that it is unknown whether Trump will win the Republican primary and become eligible for the general election. However, they did leave open the possibility of his disqualification if he wins the primary.
In Michigan, a state Court of Claims judge ruled that Trump cannot be removed from primary ballots since the primaries are internal party affairs. Similar to Minnesota, the judge suggested that the decision on Trump’s eligibility for the general election should be left to Congress, as it involves political questions that no single judicial officer can adequately address.
The group involved in the Michigan case plans to file an immediate appeal, and more appeals are expected as other states face attempts to exclude Trump from the ballot. Legal experts predict that this audacious attempt to interfere in a presidential election will likely reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Evita Duffy-Alfonso is a staff writer for The Federalist and co-founder of the Chicago Thinker. She is passionate about the Midwest, lumberjack sports, writing, and her family. Follow her on Twitter at @evitaduffy_1 or contact her at [email protected].
2) What was the basis of the Minnesota Supreme Court and Michigan Court of Claims’ decisions to conclude that the lawsuits lacked merit?
The lawsuits claim that Trump’s actions leading up to and during the Capitol protests fulfill the criteria of engaging in insurrection or rebellion against the United States. They argue that his words and actions encouraged the protestors, leading to the storming of the Capitol building and a direct attack on the democratic process.
In their decisions, both the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Claims concluded that the lawsuits lacked merit. The courts maintained that the interpretation of Section 3 requires a formal finding of guilt by a recognized legal authority. They argued that mere accusations or allegations are not sufficient grounds for disqualification from holding office.
The courts also emphasized the principle of preserving the democratic process and the importance of allowing voters to decide who appears on the ballot. They highlighted that the removal of a candidate at this stage would interfere with the fundamental rights of voters to support the candidate of their choice.
However, despite these rulings, the possibility of Trump’s removal from general election ballots still remains. The lawsuits seeking his removal from general election ballots are separate from those focused on primary elections. These cases are based on different legal arguments, such as campaign finance violations or attempts to suppress voter turnout.
It is important to note that the courts’ decisions only concern the specific challenges brought before them. They do not set a precedent for future cases or guarantee Trump’s presence on 2024 ballots. Each legal challenge will be evaluated on its individual merits and relevant legal arguments.
While the decisions by the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Claims may seem like victories for Trump, the legal battles are far from over. The upcoming decision in the Colorado lawsuit, along with other pending cases across the country, will likely shape the future trajectory of these challenges.
Moreover, potential challenges to Trump’s eligibility may extend beyond the courts. The scrutiny and public opinion surrounding his actions on January 6th could influence voters’ decision-making in both the primary and general elections.
In conclusion, the recent dismissals by the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Claims reject attempts to remove Donald Trump’s name from the 2024 presidential primary election ballots. However, the possibility of his removal from general election ballots and the overall impact of these legal challenges remain uncertain. As the cases continue to unfold, they highlight the intersection between the law and the democratic process, ultimately shaping the future of American elections.
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