July 19, 2024

On Tuesday, Michigan Judge James Redford ruled that Donald Trump will remain on the Michigan Presidential ballot for 2024

A Michigan judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that tried to use the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban” to remove Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot.

The judge separately ruled that Michigan’s secretary of state doesn’t have the power under state law to determine Trump’s eligibility for office based on the constitutional amendment.

The rulings mark a major victory for the former president, who has a commanding lead in the 2024 Republican presidential primary race, according to recent polling.  

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Recently, a ruling in Minnesota also confirmed that former President Trump shall remain on the ballot in that state.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has just ruled that former President Donald Trump will remain on that state’s 2024 presidential ballot, in a ruling based in part on First Amendment arguments by the Minnesota Republican Party.

The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected a request Wednesday to bar former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot under the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause that dates to the post-Civil War Reconstruction era.

The ruling came quickly; five justices heard oral arguments on the case last Thursday and sounded skeptical during the 70-minute session.

Chief Justice Natalie Hudson started out saying, “‘Should we’ is the question that concerns me most.” She raised the specter of electoral chaos if 50 state courts decided differently on Trump’s eligibility. “So, should we do it?” she asked.

Another, similar case in Colorado, has been allowed to proceed, with a decision expected as early as this week. A similar effort in New Hampshire was stuck down last autumn, while California pols have been trying to work that 14th Amendment angle to exclude President Trump from a ballot in a state he was unlikely to win in the first place.

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Here’s the really interesting part of the Michigan decision:

Michigan Court of Claims Judge James Redford said in his decision Tuesday that questions about Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection – and whether it constitutionally bars him from returning to the White House – should be addressed by elected representatives in Congress. He ruled that the matter was a “political question” that shouldn’t be decided by the judicial branch.

A court disqualifying Trump would’ve taken that decision away from “a body made up of elected representatives of the people of every state in the nation, and gives it to but one single judicial officer, a person who no matter how well-intentioned, evenhanded, fair and learned, cannot in any manner or form possibly embody the represented qualities of every citizen of the nation,” Redford wrote.  

The Constitution, it should be noted, gives state legislatures broad powers over elections, but it should also be noted that the judiciary is not a part of the state legislature; that’s the distinction that Judge Redford appears to be drawing here.

In normal circumstances, multiple and related cases such as these three (Michigan, Minnesota, and Colorado) would be appealed to the Supreme Court for a final decision, but that august body has already expressed disinterest in hearing these cases.

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For now, Donald Trump will remain on the ballot in Michigan, New Hampshire, and Minnesota — and the other states as well. Given his seemingly insurmountable lead in the polls (disclaimer: It’s early, and not one primary vote has yet been cast) that would seem to have him fast-tracked to the GOP nomination.

Watch this space for more; we will continue to bring you the latest news on these legal proceedings.

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