Michigan Court Upholds Trump’s Eligibility for Primary Ballot Amidst Insurrection Clause Challenge

by Lucas Garcia
Trump Michigan Primary Ruling

A recent decision by a Michigan judge ensured former President Donald Trump’s continued presence on the state’s primary election ballot, thwarting efforts to leverage a Civil War-era constitutional provision against his candidacy.

This verdict represents the second instance within a week where a state judiciary has declined to disqualify Trump from a primary ballot based on the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause.

Michigan’s Court of Claims Judge, James Redford, dismissed the notion that Trump’s involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol incident necessitated a judicial declaration of his ineligibility for presidential candidacy. Judge Redford emphasized that Trump’s compliance with state procedures for primary ballot qualification precludes his removal by the court.

Judge Redford further expressed that the responsibility to determine Trump’s disqualification, as per the Constitutional clause forbidding office to those who partake in insurrection, rests with Congress.

At a recent campaign rally in Claremont, N.H., Trump engaged with his supporters. The event was held on November 11, 2023, and captured in a photo by Reba Saldanha of the Associated Press.

In his ruling, Judge Redford argued that the determination of what constitutes a rebellion or insurrection, and who is involved, should be left to Congress. He noted that a single judge lacks the capacity to represent the diverse perspectives of the entire nation, a role more fitting for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Reacting to the verdict, the liberal organization Free Speech For People, which has pursued similar 14th Amendment challenges in various states, announced plans to appeal the decision. They also requested an expedited review by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Ron Fein, the Legal Director of Free Speech For People, expressed disappointment with the trial court’s decision and the organization’s intent to challenge it immediately.

In response, Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung criticized the series of legal actions as unfounded and politically motivated attempts by opponents to influence the electoral process through the courts rather than the will of the American electorate.

Parallel legal actions have been initiated in other states by groups asserting Trump’s role in inciting the January 6 attack, an event aimed at disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory in 2020.

The seldom-used insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment, dating back to the post-Civil War era, is central to these cases. It is anticipated that one of the ongoing cases might eventually escalate to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has yet to adjudicate on the insurrection clause.

In a related development, the Minnesota Supreme Court recently allowed Trump’s inclusion in the state’s primary ballot, noting the constitutional eligibility issue does not apply in party-managed elections. However, the court did not close the possibility of a future lawsuit to challenge Trump’s eligibility in the general election.

A forthcoming decision is expected from a Colorado judge on a similar lawsuit, with closing arguments scheduled for later in the week.

Reported from Denver by journalist Riccardi.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Trump Michigan Primary Ruling

What was the Michigan judge’s decision regarding Trump’s primary ballot eligibility?

The Michigan judge ruled that former President Donald Trump will remain on the state’s primary ballot, rejecting a challenge based on the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment.

How does this ruling affect Trump’s candidacy?

This ruling allows Trump to continue his candidacy in the Michigan primary, marking a setback for efforts using the 14th Amendment to disqualify him.

What reasons did the judge give for this decision?

Judge James Redford stated that Trump complied with state law for primary ballot qualification and that decisions about insurrection involvement should be made by Congress, not a single judge.

Has there been a similar ruling in other states?

Yes, this is the second time in a week that a state court has declined to remove Trump from a primary ballot under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause.

What are the implications of this ruling for the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause?

The ruling highlights the complexity and rarity of using the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment in disqualifying candidates, suggesting that it is a matter better suited for Congressional determination.

Will there be an appeal to this decision?

Yes, the group Free Speech For People, which brought the case, plans to appeal the ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals and has requested an expedited review by the state supreme court.

More about Trump Michigan Primary Ruling

  • Michigan Judge’s Ruling on Trump
  • Trump’s Candidacy and the 14th Amendment
  • Legal Implications of the Insurrection Clause
  • State Court Decisions on Presidential Candidates
  • Congressional Role in Insurrection Determinations
  • Free Speech For People’s Appeal Plans
  • The 14th Amendment in Modern Politics

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Mike87 November 15, 2023 - 9:59 am

wow, didn’t expect this kind of decision. thought the 14th amendment was clear on this, guess not?

JohnDoe November 15, 2023 - 11:14 am

interesting ruling but what happens next? seems like it’s far from over, these appeals could change everything

SarahBee November 15, 2023 - 2:14 pm

This is just another example of the legal system being too lenient. Trump should definitly not be on the ballot.

LegalEagle22 November 15, 2023 - 4:23 pm

As a law student, I’m fascinated by the use of the insurrection clause here. It’s not often we see such a direct application in modern politics.


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