In Michigan, a state court of appeals issued a ruling on Thursday, addressing one of several cases nationwide seeking to prevent former President Donald Trump from appearing on the 2024 ballot. The court rejected a challenge that aimed to exclude Trump from the ballot, with the plaintiffs contending that his alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot rendered him ineligible under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection” clause.
The court affirmed a pair of lower court rulings. “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 Associated Press reported.
The judges involved further explained that it is not for the judicial Branch to determine who or who cannot be on a Presidential ballot. It should be noted that Trump has not been charged with, nor convicted of, “insurrection.”
“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 AP reported.
“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,” the newswire added.
So far, only one court has concluded that Trump committed an act of insurrection, but the judge declined to disqualify him from the ballot. District Judge Sarah B. Wallace acknowledged that the former president engaged in an insurrection but noted that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which lists positions that someone cannot hold if found guilty of insurrection, does not explicitly mention the presidency.
“Part of the Court’s decision is its reluctance to embrace an interpretation which would disqualify a presidential candidate without a clear, unmistakable indication that such is the intent of Section Three,” the judge said.
“After considering the arguments on both sides, the Court is persuaded that ‘officers of the United States’ did not include the President of the United States,” she said. “It appears to the Court that for whatever reason the drafters of Section Three did not intend to include a person who had only taken the Presidential Oath.”
Much to the anger of his critics, Trump’s campaign went on to celebrate in a communication sent to his supporters.
“We applaud today’s ruling in Colorado, which is another nail in the coffin of the un-American ballot challenges. With this decision, Democrats’ 14th Amendment challenges have now been defeated in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and New Hampshire. These cases represent the most cynical and blatant political attempts to interfere with the upcoming presidential election by desperate Democrats who know Crooked Joe Biden is a failed president on the fast track to defeat. The American voter has a Constitutional right to vote for the candidate of their choosing, with President Donald J. Trump leading by massive numbers. This right was correctly preserved in Colorado today and we urge the swift disposal of any and all remaining Democrat ballot challenges. Onward to total victory in 2024, we will Make America Great Again!” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said.
A state judge in Michigan had already agreed with the ruling.
“Court of Claims Judge James Redford rejected arguments that Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol meant the court had to declare him ineligible for the presidency. Redford wrote that because Trump followed state law in qualifying for the primary ballot, he cannot remove the former president,” The Associated Press reported.