SUPREME COURT REJECTS BID TO EXCLUDE TRUMP FROM 2024 US ELECTION
In a highly anticipated decision, the Michigan Supreme Court has rejected an effort to exclude former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot. The challenge was based on the US Constitution’s “insurrectionist ban” and Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
This ruling stands in contrast to a recent verdict by the Colorado Supreme Court, which removed Trump from its primary ballot due to his involvement in the riot. However, that decision has been put on hold pending appeal.
The conflicting rulings between Michigan and Colorado set the stage for a potentially pivotal scenario, potentially leading to the US Supreme Court, especially with the upcoming 2024 primaries. Unlike the Colorado case, the Michigan lawsuit never reached trial and was dismissed early on in the legal process. The decision to dismiss on procedural grounds was upheld by an intermediate appeals court.
The Michigan Court of Claims judge who initially heard the case argued that state law doesn’t empower election officials to assess the eligibility of presidential primary candidates. He also contended that the issue raised by the case constitutes a political question unsuitable for judicial resolution.
Echoing this position, the Michigan Court of Appeals stated: “At present, the only imminent event is the presidential primary election. Whether Trump is disqualified is irrelevant to his placement on that specific ballot.”
The Michigan Supreme Court’s recent ruling was not attributed to any specific judge and was released without disclosing the vote count.
The key difference between the Michigan and Colorado outcomes lies in the procedural basis of rejection. Unlike the Colorado courts, Michigan courts never deliberated on whether the January 6 events constituted an insurrection or whether Trump participated in such an act.
Justice Elizabeth Welch of the Michigan Supreme Court highlighted the distinction between Michigan and Colorado laws. She said: “The challengers in Michigan haven’t identified a similar provision in the Michigan Election Law that requires a presidential candidate to affirm their legal qualification for the office,” comparing Michigan law to Colorado’s election code.
The 14th Amendment, ratified after the Civil War, includes a clause barring individuals who engaged in insurrection from holding future public office. This provision was historically used to disqualify numerous former Confederates. However, since 1919, it has only been invoked twice. Notably, the amendment’s ambiguous language doesn’t explicitly mention the presidency.The Michigan lawsuit was filed in September by Free Speech For People, an advocacy organisation, on behalf of a group of voters. This group also pursued unsuccessful 14th Amendment challenges against Trump in Minnesota and recently initiated a new case in Oregon. Conversely, the Colorado lawsuit was filed by a separate liberal-leaning group.