A Michigan judge has ruled the ex-president can contest the Republican nomination, rejecting an “insurrection” lawsuit by activists
Former US President Donald Trump is eligible to remain on Michigan’s 2024 presidential primary ballot for the Republican Party, a state court has ruled. A local activist group had sought to bar Trump from running for office by filing an “insurrection” lawsuit against him.
Michigan Court of Claims judge James Redford delivered the ruling on Tuesday. The decision followed a legal bid by liberal activist group Free Speech for People, which had claimed that Trump’s alleged role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot should disqualify him from campaigning for elected office.
In his verdict, Redford explained that deciding if the events of January 6 represented a “rebellion or insurrection, or whether or not someone participated in it” should be deferred to Congress. He further stressed that Michigan’s electoral authorities do not have the power to remove Trump from the ballot.
Free Speech for People had invoked Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, a Civil War-era constitutional clause stating that a person cannot run for elected office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the constitution after taking an oath to support it.
Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said that his team welcomed the decision and “anticipates the future dismissals of the other 14th Amendment cases.”
Trump, who according to multiple polls comfortably leads his rivals for the GOP nomination, has faced similar lawsuits in other states, some of which have already been thrown out by courts. While the Republican firebrand is at the center of a litany of legal battles, he has never been charged with insurrection.
A lawsuit against Trump was dismissed by Minnesota’s Supreme Court last week, while a verdict in a similar case in Colorado is expected by Friday.
Last month, the US Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Texas Republican John Anthony Castro to bar Trump from seeking reelection in 2024 on the grounds of the 14th Amendment.
Trump is also being tried on federal conspiracy charges related to his alleged attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, making him the first former US head of state to face a federal indictment.
Elsewhere, the Republican frontrunner has federal charges hanging over him related to his handling of top-secret government documents, while he is also being sued in New York by both the city and the state.
The former president has repeatedly dismissed the legal challenges against him as a politically motivated “witch hunt” designed to derail his 2024 chances.