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Michigan Supreme Court rejects ‘insurrection ban’ case, keeps Trump on 2024 primary ballot


Washington
CNN

The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to exclude former President Donald Trump from the 2024 primary ballot based on the U.S. Constitution’s “insurrection ban.”

The result, widely expected, is a victory for the former president, although efforts to impeach him could be renewed for the general election. Wednesday’s ruling contrasts with the Colorado Supreme Court’s recent ruling, which kicked Trump off its primary ballot because of his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. This decision has been suspended pending an appeal.

With these conflicting rulings, expected appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court become even more critical, especially as the country heads full speed toward the start of the 2024 primaries. Unlike Colorado, Michigan’s lawsuit does not never made it to trial and was dismissed early in the process. An intermediate appeals court upheld the decision to dismiss the case on procedural grounds.

The Michigan Court of Claims judge who first took on the case said state law gives election officials no leeway to vet the eligibility of candidates in presidential primaries. He also said the case raised a political question that should not be decided by the courts.

His decision was upheld by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which said: “At the moment, the only event about to happen is the presidential primary election. But as we’ve explained, whether Trump is disqualified is irrelevant to his place on this particular ballot. »

The Michigan Supreme Court’s order has not been signed and the court has not released the vote tally.

Unlike Colorado, Michigan courts dismissed the case entirely on procedural grounds. They never addressed the question of whether January 6 was an insurrection and whether Trump engaged in it.

One of Michigan’s judges wrote Wednesday about why Michigan is different from Colorado.

– Source: CNN
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Here’s what independent voters think about the Colorado Supreme Court removing Trump from the ballot

Trump’s opponents “have not identified any analogous provision in Michigan election law that would require any person seeking to become President of the United States to attest to his or her legal qualification to hold that office,” Justice Elizabeth Welch wrote, comparing Michigan law to Colorado law. electoral code.

Michigan’s lower court rulings left the door open for future challenges to the 14th Amendment if Trump wins the Republican nomination. Welch specifically noted this dynamic in the separate opinion she wrote Wednesday.

“I would like to uphold the Court of Appeals’ decision on this issue, which still allows the appellants to renew their legal efforts regarding Michigan’s general election later in 2024 if Trump becomes the Republican nominee for President of the United States or was running for president of the United States. independent candidate,” Welch wrote.

The Minnesota Supreme Court reached a similar conclusion last month, ruling that an “insurrectionist ban” case involving Trump should be thrown out as it relates to the GOP primary, but that challengers could try again if he wins the inauguration.

On Truth Social, Trump denounced what he called a “pathetic strategy” to keep him from voting and reiterated his baseless warnings that the 2024 vote was at risk of being “rigged and stolen.”

Ron Fein, the legal director of Free Speech For People, which filed the case in Michigan, said the decision was “disappointing” but noted that it “is not binding on any court outside of Michigan.” . Another lawyer for the challengers, Mark Brewer, said they would continue their efforts in Michigan.

“The Court’s decision is disappointing, but we will continue, at a later stage, to seek to uphold this essential constitutional provision intended to protect our republic,” Brewer said in the statement.

Ratified after the Civil War, the 14th Amendment states that public officials who take an oath to support the Constitution are barred from future office if they “engage in insurrection.” This provision was used to disqualify thousands of former Confederates. But it has only been applied twice since 1919, and the vague wording does not mention the presidency.

The Michigan lawsuit was filed in September by an advocacy organization, Free Speech For People, on behalf of a group of voters. He also unsuccessfully pursued a 14th Amendment challenge against Trump in Minnesota and recently filed a new suit in Oregon. The Colorado lawsuit was initiated by a separate liberal-leaning group.

This story has been updated with additional details and background information.

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