A legal challenge seeking to prevent former President Donald Trump from running in the 2024 primary elections in Michigan has been dismissed by a state judge.
The lawsuit was brought forward by Free Speech for Free Peoples, a left-leaning nonprofit organization. They argued that Trump had violated section 3 of the 14th Amendment in relation to the breach at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. This provision of the constitution prohibits anyone who has taken an oath of office from seeking office again if they have been involved in insurrection or rebellion, or have provided aid or comfort to the enemies of the United States.
Judge James Redford of the Michigan Court of Claims reportedly stated that under state law, the secretary of state lacks the authority to intervene in a primary election. He also noted that Trump had followed the necessary state law requirements to qualify for the primary ballot. The judge wrote that the final decision rests with the political party and the listed candidate.
The ruling was met with disappointment by Ron Fein, the legal director and attorney for the petitioners at Free Speech For People. He expressed his intention to appeal the ruling immediately, stating, “The Michigan Supreme Court should reverse this badly-reasoned lower court decision.” Fein further added that while their appeal is pending, the trial court’s decision would not be binding on any other court. He affirmed their commitment to continue their legal actions in other states to enforce Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment against Donald Trump.
On the other hand, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung celebrated the judge’s decision. In a statement, he said, “Each and every one of these ridiculous cases have LOST because they are all un-Constitutional left-wing fantasies orchestrated by monied allies of the Biden campaign seeking to turn the election over to the courts and deny the American people the right to choose their next president.”
This case is one among several nationwide lawsuits attempting to bar Trump from state ballots using the insurrection clause. Trump has criticized these lawsuits as “frivolous,” and referred to them as election interference by “radical Democrat dark money groups”. He recently told radio host Dan Bongino, “This is like a banana republic. And what they’re doing is, it’s called election interference. … Now the 14th Amendment is just a continuation of that. It’s nonsense.”
Similar lawsuits have been filed in other states like Arizona, Colorado, and New Hampshire. Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a legal challenge by the same group, stating that state law allows political parties to put anyone on a primary ballot. However, last month, Colorado brought its challenge to trial under the constitutional measure, which has been rarely used over the last 150 years. Legal experts reportedly anticipate that this issue will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.