Michigan supreme court rules that Trump will stay on state ballot
Ex-president can participate in state primary despite accusations of insurrection stemming from the January 6 Capitol attack
Donald Trump will remain on Michigan’s state ballot after a ruling from the Michigan supreme court on Wednesday, which upheld a lower court order.
The move sets the stage for the former president to participate in the Michigan primary despite accusations that he led an insurrection against the United States.
The court’s decision not to move forward with a case against Trump sets the court in sharp contrast to the Colorado supreme court, which recently ruled to strip Trump from its state primary ballot because of his role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
In Michigan, as in Colorado, the challengers have invoked section 3 of the US constitution’s 14th amendment, which broadly blocks people from holding government office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the US constitution having previously sworn an oath to uphold it. Legal experts are divided on whether this provision, written against the backdrop of the US civil war, applies to the office of the president. There are also questions as to whether Trump’s actions around January 6 legally constitute “insurrection or rebellion”.
Colorado’s decision is currently paused. More than a dozen states have similar litigation in the works, according to a database maintained by Lawfare, which covers national security issues.
The Michigan supreme court justices did not give a reasoning for their decision.
“We are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this court,” the justices wrote in an unsigned, one-paragraph order.
However, in a dissent in which she largely agreed with the court’s order, Justice Elizabeth Welch said that procedural differences may make the difference in Colorado and Michigan’s election laws. The challengers in the case, she added, may “renew their legal efforts as to the Michigan general election later in 2024 should Trump become the Republican nominee for President of the United States or seek such office as an independent candidate”.
Free Speech for the People, the group that brought the lawsuit, stressed that the Michigan supreme court’s decision was made on procedural grounds.
“We are disappointed by the Michigan supreme court’s decision,” said Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. But, Fein added: “The decision isn’t binding on any court outside Michigan and we continue our current and planned legal actions in other states to enforce Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment against Donald Trump.”
Michigan is expected to be a battleground state in the 2024 US presidential election. Its primary is set for 27 February 2024.
Trump celebrated the order on the social media platform Truth Social.
“The Michigan Supreme Court has strongly and rightfully denied the Desperate Democrat attempt to take the leading Candidate in the 2024 Presidential Election, me, off the ballot in the Great State of Michigan,” Trump wrote. “We have to save our Country from decline and the Radical Left. Make America Great Again!”