Michigan Supreme Court Rejects 'Insurgency Ban' Case and Keeps Trump on 2024 Primary Ballot

Carlos Osorio/AP

The Michigan Hall of Justice, home of the Michigan Supreme Court, is photographed Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in Lansing.


Washington
CNN

Michigan has a Supreme Court Rejected an attempt Former President Donald Trump should be removed from the 2024 primary ballot based on the U.S. Constitution's “sedition ban.”

The generally expected result is a victory for the former president, although the bid to oust him could be renewed in time for the general election. Wednesday's decision contradicts a recent ruling Colorado Supreme Court, which kicked off its primary ballot because of Trump's role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. That decision has been stayed pending an appeal.

The battle results make expected appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court even more important, especially as the country races toward the start of the 2024 primaries. Unlike Colorado, the The Michigan case Never came to trial and was dismissed early in the process. An intermediate appellate court upheld the decision to dismiss the case on procedural grounds.

The Michigan Court of Claims judge who first heard the case said state law gives election officials no way to police the qualifications of presidential primary candidates. He also told the case He raised a political question It should not be decided in the courts.

His decision was upheld by the Michigan Court of Appeals: “At present, the only event pending is the presidential election. But as explained, whether Trump is disqualified is irrelevant to his placement on that particular ballot.

The Michigan Supreme Court's order has not been signed, and the court has not released the vote count.

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Unlike in Colorado, Michigan courts rejected the case on procedural grounds. They never reached the questions of whether January 6 was a riot and whether Trump was involved.

One Michigan judge wrote Wednesday why Michigan is different from Colorado.

02:38 – Source: CNN

Here's how independent voters feel about the Colorado Supreme Court's removal of Trump from the ballot

The anti-Trump challengers “identify no analogous provision in Michigan's election law that requires a candidate for the office of President of the United States to attest to their legal eligibility to hold office,” wrote Judge Elizabeth Welch, comparing Michigan's law to Colorado's election code.

Lower court rulings in Michigan leave the door open for future 14th Amendment challenges if Trump wins the Republican nomination. Welch addressed this dynamic in a separate opinion written on Wednesday.

“I am affirming the Court of Appeals' ruling on this issue, which allows the appellants to renew their legal efforts if Trump becomes the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the Michigan general election in late 2024 or seeks such office. Independent candidate,” Welch wrote.

Supreme Court of Minnesota A similar conclusion was reached Last month, an “insurgent ban” case involving Trump was dismissed in the GOP primary, but if he wins the nomination, challengers could try again.

On Truth Social, Trump condemned what he called a “pathetic gamble” to keep him out of the polls, and repeated his baseless warnings that 2024 was at risk of “fraud and theft.”

Ron Fein, legal director of People for Free Speech, which filed the Michigan lawsuit, called the decision “disappointing” but noted that it “is not binding on any court outside of Michigan.” Another challenging attorney, Mark Brewer, said they will continue their efforts in Michigan.

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“The court's decision is disappointing, but we will continue at a later stage to uphold this important constitutional provision designed to protect our republic,” Brewer said in the statement.

Ratified after the Civil War, the 14th Amendment states that officers who take an oath to uphold the Constitution are barred from future office if they “engage in rebellion.” This provision was used to disqualify thousands of former Confederates. But it's only been used twice since 1919, and the vague wording doesn't refer to the presidency.

The Michigan lawsuit was filed in September by People for Free Speech on behalf of the group of voters. It unsuccessfully filed a 14th Amendment challenge against Trump In Minnesota, and a new case was recently filed in Oregon. The Colorado case was initiated by a separate liberal-leaning group.

On Wednesday, Trump's lawyers asked Maine's secretary of state to recuse himself from deciding whether he should be removed from the 2024 ballot because of the “insurgent ban.” Maine is different from other states: Ballot challenges are first heard by the secretary of state, not in the courts.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat-elect, led an executive investigation into Trump's eligibility for office earlier this month. His ruling is expected this week, and his decision could be appealed in the Maine state courts.

It is unlikely that she will agree to quit. Trump made a similar request to the trial judge in the Colorado case, but the judge there rejected his request.

This story has been updated with additional details and background information.

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