A recent judgment by a Michigan judge has maintained former President Donald Trump’s position on the state’s primary ballot, thwarting attempts to leverage a Civil War-era Constitutional provision against his candidacy.
This decision, delivered on Tuesday, marks the second instance within a week where a state court has refrained from disqualifying Trump from a primary ballot, citing the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause.
In this particular case, Court of Claims Judge James Redford dismissed arguments that Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol siege necessitated his ineligibility for presidential candidacy.
Redford emphasized that Trump’s compliance with state laws in securing his place on the ballot precluded judicial intervention. Moreover, he opined that Congress more suitably adjudicates disqualification determination under the Constitution’s insurrection clause.
Redford articulated that issues such as defining an event as “a rebellion or insurrection” and deciding on an individual’s participation are complex questions best left to the collective judgment of Congress rather than a single judicial officer.
Free Speech For People, an advocacy group championing liberal causes, expressed discontent with this ruling. Ron Fein, the organization’s Legal Director, declared an immediate appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Simultaneously, they have petitioned the state supreme court for expedited case review.
In contrast, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung criticized these legal maneuvers as “un-Constitutional left-wing fantasies,” asserting they are efforts by political adversaries to usurp the electoral process.
Trump Faces Legal Battles
These legal battles are part of a broader strategy by left-leaning groups in various states, portraying Trump as an instigator of the Jan. 6 attack aimed at hindering Congress from validating Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
The insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment, seldom invoked since the post-Civil War era, could escalate to the US Supreme Court. This would be a significant development, as the Supreme Court has yet to deliver a verdict on this clause.
In a related development, the Minnesota Supreme Court recently decided to keep Trump on the state’s primary ballot. They argued that constitutional eligibility is not a criterion in party-run contests like primaries.
However, the ruling leaves the possibility of future litigation concerning Trump’s appearance on the general election ballot.
Meanwhile, a Colorado court is poised to decide on a similar lawsuit. The final arguments in this Colorado case are scheduled for Wednesday, with a judgment expected by Friday.