Minnesota Supreme Court Won’t Remove Trump From GOP Primary Ballot Over 14th Amendment Challenge

By | November 9, 2023

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump after finishing his testimony during his civil fraud trial in New York State Supreme Court on November 6, 2023 in New York.


The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt He moved to block Donald Trump from the state’s GOP primary ballot next year based on the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectional ban,” but said challengers can try again to block him from the state’s ballot. general election if the former president wins the Republican nomination.

The 14th Amendment, ratified after the Civil War, states that U.S. officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution are banned from future office if they “engage in insurrection.” But the Constitution does not specify how to enforce the ban, and it has only been enforced twice since 1919, which is why many experts consider these challenges long-term.

The move is a victory for Trump, in terms of keeping his name on the Minnesota ballot for the 2024 Republican primary, where a recent poll shows he has a sizable lead. However, the Minnesota judges did not go as far as Trump’s lawyers wanted, namely to end the case and keep the former president on the ballot for the primary and general.

“No state law prohibits a major political party from entering the primary ballot for the presidential nomination, or sending delegates to the national convention in support, of a candidate who is not eligible to serve a position,” the High Court wrote in a four-page judgment. , which did not address Trump’s electability. Rather, he said, “there is no error to correct” at this point.

Therefore, the court dismissed the case, but said it would not prevent the challengers from “presenting a petition asserting their claims regarding the general election.” In dismissing the case now, the justices did not address the key legal questions of whether the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol was an insurrection and whether Trump “engaged” in that insurrection, disqualifying him of its functions.

The challengers — a bipartisan group of Minnesota voters — could appeal Wednesday’s decision.

The decision said the case was dismissed “so as not to harm the smooth running of the electoral process.” (The state GOP primary is scheduled for March 5.) There was no notable dissent in the court order, which was signed by Chief Justice Natalie Hudson.

HAS pleadings Last week, several Minnesota judges were skeptical about removing Trump from the ballot: Hudson said it might be prudent to exercise “judicial restraint,” while another judge endorsed the idea that voters should probably be the ones to decide whether Trump will return. to the presidency.

In a statement, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said the ruling “is further validation of the Trump campaign’s consistent argument that challenges to the 14th Amendment are nothing more than attempts strategic and unconstitutional interference with the election.

These lawsuits “should be summarily dismissed as soon as they arise,” Cheung said.

Similar anti-Trump protests are still underway Colorado and Michigan. Closing arguments are scheduled for Nov. 15 in the Colorado trial, which last week saw testimony from U.S. Capitol Police officers and other key figures during a one week trial. The cases were handled by left-wing advocacy groups, but a bipartisan collection of lawyers and former lawyers have approved their attempts to disqualify Trump from office.

The challengers — a bipartisan group of Minnesota voters — could appeal Wednesday’s decision.

Regardless of the initial rulings in these cases, most experts expect appeals to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could settle the issue for the entire nation.

“We are disappointed by the court’s decision,” said Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, which represents anti-Trump challengers. “However, the Minnesota Supreme Court has explicitly recognized that the question of Donald Trump’s disqualification for participating in an insurrection against the U.S. Constitution may be resolved at a later date. The decision is not binding on any court outside of Minnesota, and we continue our ongoing and planned legal actions in other states to enforce Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment against Donald Trump.”

The group’s statement notes that the court did not rule in favor of any of Trump’s arguments against the litigation, but instead dismissed the case “on technical grounds.”

Derek Muller, an election law expert at Notre Dame Law School who submitted a brief in the Minnesota case that was neutral on Trump’s electability but provided analysis of key legal issues, said the Wednesday’s decision “kicks off the future.”

“Minnesota political parties list candidates in the presidential primary, and the court deferred to that process,” Muller said. “But the general election is another matter. It is not the party that manages this project. So the court is essentially inviting a new challenge later, before the general election.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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