Michigan Supreme Court rejects bid to take Trump off primary ballot

Michigan Supreme Court rejects bid to take Trump off primary ballot

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The Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt to remove former President Trump from the state’s primary ballot under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection ban.

A liberal-leaning group had appealed a state appeals court ruling that concluded, regardless of whether the 14th Amendment disqualifies Trump from holding office, Michigan’s secretary of state lacks the legal authority to remove him from the ballot.

The state’s highest court, controlled by Democrats, let that lower ruling stand, saying in an unsigned order that it was “not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.”

The decision hands a legal victory for Trump as his lawyers seek to stave off 14th Amendment lawsuits filed across the country, aimed at preventing the former president’s return to the White House.

The amendment prohibits someone from holding “any office … under the United States” if they engaged in insurrection after taking an oath as “an officer of the United States” to “support” the Constitution.

Ratified after the Civil War, the provision was originally used to prevent Confederates from returning to federal office. The array of Trump cases — citing the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot — poses a series of open legal questions, including whether the clause applies to the presidency and whether courts have authority to disqualify candidates.

Trump’s team has successfully defended against cases filed in places including Minnesota, where the state’s top court similarly tossed a 14th Amendment challenge last month.

But in Colorado, the state’s supreme court last week was the first to take the extraordinary step of ordering Trump’s name off from the ballot. The ruling is temporarily on hold.

In a solo dissent in Michigan on Wednesday, Justice Elizabeth Welch wrote that it was “important” for the state court to issue a decision on the merits given the gravity of the legal questions at issue.

But she likened the case to Minnesota, while drawing contrast to Colorado.

“Significantly, Colorado’s election laws differ from Michigan’s laws in a material way that is directly relevant to why the appellants in this case are not entitled to the relief they seek concerning the presidential primary election in Michigan,” Welch wrote.

Welch also noted that Tuesday’s ruling leaves open the possibility that the plaintiffs could renew their efforts for the general election if Trump becomes the Republican nominee, which polling indicates is very likely.

Liberal-leaning nonprofit Free Speech for People brought the Michigan lawsuit challenging Trump’s ballot placement, and the group brought a similar lawsuit in Oregon.

The dispute could soon be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump has vowed to appeal the Colorado decision, a move that would automatically put the ruling on hold until the justices in Washington resolve the case.

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