A Michigan judge has rejected a request to remove President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
Opponents of Trump have filed lawsuits in multiple states that aim to bar the 45th president from appearing on election ballots.
They argue that Trump should be removed due to his supposed disqualification under the auspices of the “insurrection” clause of the 14th Amendment.
One such lawsuit in Michigan was just dismissed by a judge, however.
Court of Claims Judge James Redford ruled that Trump could appear on the state’s primary and general election ballots next year, according to The Hill.
The judge essentially ruled that Trump couldn’t be removed from the primary ballot since all relevant laws were followed to place his name there as a candidate.
Redford further declared that the broader question about Trump’s eligibility for the presidency was one for Congress to ultimately decide and not the courts.
The Associated Press reported that a left-leaning organization known as Free Speech for People filed the lawsuit in Michigan, as well as in several other states.
The suit argues that Trump is disqualified from being re-elected or even appearing on ballots due to the 14th Amendment.
Specifically, they point to Section 3 of that post-Civil War amendment and the disqualification for public office it meted out to anybody who previously took an oath of office before engaging in an “insurrection or rebellion” or providing aid and comfort to others who had done so — a prohibition squarely aimed at former Confederate officers and politicians in the newly reunified states.
The arguments presented were deemed unpersuasive by Judge Redford, however.
In his ruling, the judge cited other dismissed or defeated lawsuits on the same subject in other states as the basis for his reasoning.
In his 21-page opinion and order, Judge Redford denied the requests that he declare Trump ineligible to be president again under the auspices of the 14th Amendment.
He also refused to issue permanent injunctions blocking the Michigan Secretary of State from including Trump’s name as a candidate on both the primary and general election ballots in 2024.
Concerning the inclusion of Trump’s name on the primary ballot, the judge determined that Trump and the Michigan Republican Party had satisfied the minimal legislatively-enacted requirements for doing so.
Therefore, Trump couldn’t be blocked from appearing on the ballots.
The judge cited a recent similar conclusion from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
And, like the Minnesota ruling, Redford decided that the effort to bar Trump from the general election ballot was “not ripe” or not “about to occur” and as such couldn’t yet be addressed by the court.
As for the demand that Trump be declared disqualified and ineligible to hold office under the 14th Amendment, Judge Redford ruled that that was a “nonjusticiable political question” that was a matter for Congress, and not the courts, to decide.
He pointed to the “well-thought-out analysis and conclusion” of a New Hampshire court that similarly dismissed the same request and also highlighted numerous other clauses and amendments within the U.S. Constitution.
Those rulings made it clear that Congress and Congress alone has the right and responsibility to determine who is and isn’t eligible or qualified to serve as president.
The judge further highlighted the “inappropriateness” of the judicial branch in resolving political questions, as doing so removes the decision-making from Congress and “gives it to but one judicial officer, a person who no matter how well-intentioned, evenhanded, fair and learned, cannot in any manner or form possibly embody the represented qualities of every citizen of the nation — as does the House of Representatives and the Senate.”
In response to the ruling, Free Speech for People’s legal director Ron Fein said, “We are disappointed by the trial court’s decision, and we’re appealing it immediately.”
“The Michigan Supreme Court should reverse this badly reasoned lower court decision,” Fein added.
“While our appeal is pending, the trial court’s decision isn’t binding on any other court, and we continue our current and planned legal actions in other states to enforce Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment against Donald Trump.”
As for Trump and his campaign, spokesman Steven Cheung noted this and other losses in other states and said in a statement:
“Each and every one of these ridiculous cases have LOST because they are all un-Constitutional left-wing fantasies orchestrated by monied allies of the Biden campaign seeking to turn the election over to the courts and deny the American people the right to choose their next president.”