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Liberal group appeals Trump’s spot on 2024 ballot to Michigan Supreme Court

Former President Donald Trump speaks in Clinton Township, Mich., Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023.

UPDATE 12/19/23 12:00 p.m.

A liberal group on Monday appealed a ruling keeping former President Donald Trump on the ballot to the Michigan Supreme Court, setting up the latest in a series of state high court showdowns over whether a rarely used constitutional clause prohibiting those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office bars him from a return to the presidency.

Free Speech For the People appealed last week’s ruling by the state court of appeals that the Republican Party can place whomever they want on the ballot for its presidential primary, regardless of whether they’re qualified for the office or not.

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The move potentially places the future of Trump’s candidacy before yet another state supreme court. The Minnesota Supreme Court already kept Trump on the ballot, likewise saying the courts can’t strike candidates from the primary ballot and inviting the plaintiffs to try again in the general election. The Colorado Supreme Court is due to rule on an appeal of a Denver judge’s ruling that although Trump did “engage in insurrection” in the Jan 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists in office doesn’t apply to the presidency.

It’s possible one of the cases will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court, which has never ruled on Section 3. The provision was added to the Constitution after the Civil War to prevent former confederates from returning to their positions in government.

Dozens of lawsuits have been filed this year seeking to end Trump’s presidential candidacy. None have been successful.

12/14/23 6:10 p.m.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals said Thursday it won’t stop former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s 2024 Republican primary ballot, turning aside challenges from critics who argue that his role in the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol disqualifies him.

The court affirmed two lower court rulings without determining whether Trump falls under the insurrection clause in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

“Who to place on the primary ballot is determined by the political parties and the individual candidates,” the appeals court said in a 3-0 opinion, citing Michigan law.

The court further said Trump’s possible spot on a general election ballot was not ripe for consideration.

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The two-sentence clause in the 14th Amendment has been used only a handful of times since the years after the Civil War. It’s likely that one of the lawsuits challenging Trump eventually will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has never ruled on the insurrection clause.

The Michigan court decision was similar to one from the Minnesota Supreme Court, which said Trump could stay on that state’s primary ballot there because the election is a party-run contest.

In one of the Michigan lawsuits, the anti-Trump plaintiffs included Bob LaBrant, a longtime Republican who was a lawyer and political strategist for decades at the state Chamber of Commerce.


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