Michigan Supreme Court will keep Trump on the state's primary election ballot
Legal Topics | 2023/12/27 17:37
Michigan’s Supreme Court is keeping former President Donald Trump on the state’s primary election ballot.

The court said Wednesday it will not hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling from groups seeking to keep Trump from appearing on the ballot.

It said in an order that the application by parties to appeal a Dec. 14 Michigan appeals court judgment was considered, but denied “because we are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this court.”

The ruling contrasts with Dec. 19 decision by a divided Colorado Supreme Court which found Trump ineligible to be president because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. That ruling was the first time in history that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment has been used to disqualify a presidential candidate.

The Michigan and Colorado cases are among dozens hoping to keep Trump’s name off state ballots. They all point to the so-called insurrection clause that prevents anyone from holding office who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution. Until the Colorado ruling, all had failed.

The Colorado ruling is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has never ruled on the rarely used Civil War-era provision.

The plaintiffs in Michigan can technically try again to disqualify Trump under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment in the general election, though it's likely there will be a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issue by then. The state's high court on Wednesday upheld an appeals court ruling that the Republican Party could place anyone it wants on the primary ballot. But the court was silent on whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment would disqualify Trump in November if he becomes the GOP nominee.

“We are disappointed by the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision,” said Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech for People, the liberal group that filed the suit to disqualify Trump in the state. “The ruling conflicts with longstanding US Supreme Court precedent that makes clear that when political parties use the election machinery of the state to select, via the primary process, their candidates for the general election, they must comply with all constitutional requirements in that process.”

rump hailed the order, calling the effort to keep him off the ballot in multiple states a “pathetic gambit."

Only one of the court's seven justices dissented. Justice Elizabeth M. Welch, a Democrat, wrote that she would have kept Trump on the primary ballot but the court should rule on the merits of the Section 3 challenge. The court has a 4-3 Democratic majority.


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