The Michigan Supreme Court recently rejected an attempt to exclude former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot, citing the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
This ruling stands in stark contrast to a recent decision by the Colorado Supreme Court, which disqualified Trump from the presidency and removed his name from the Colorado primary ballot. In that case, a 4–3 majority of judges argued that he was linked to the Capitol breach on January 6, 2021.
However, legal experts speculate that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the Colorado court’s decision, as Trump has not faced charges of rebellion or insurrection in any jurisdiction.
In a concise order from the Michigan court, the appeal against the former president was denied, stating it was “not appropriate for review by this Court.” The decision seemed to dismiss the appeal based on procedural aspects, avoiding specific discussions about President Trump’s alleged involvement in an “insurrection” according to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
Notably, the unsigned order lacked details such as signatures or a vote count, featuring only one dissenting voice: Justice Elizabeth Welch, a Democrat nominee.
This ruling ensures President Trump’s inclusion on the Michigan ballot for the crucial 2024 election, maintaining the state’s status as a key battleground. Recent polls indicate Trump’s lead over President Biden in Michigan, underscoring the significance of this decision within the state’s political landscape.
“The only legal issue properly before the Court is whether the Court of Claims and the Court of Appeals erred by holding that the Michigan Secretary of State lacks legal authority to remove or withhold former President Donald J. Trump’s name from Michigan’s 2024 presidential primary ballot,” Judge Welch wrote in the dissent.
“Significantly, Colorado’s election laws differ from Michigan’s laws in a material way that is directly relevant to why the appellants in this case are not entitled to the relief they seek concerning the presidential primary election in Michigan. … While not adopted by [a lower court], I would also vacate the Court of Claims’ analysis and application of the political question doctrine as unnecessary dicta considering the court’s conclusions on the merits as to the primary election and ripeness as to the general election … for these reasons, I respectfully dissent.”
The legal challenge against the former president in Michigan, initiated in September by Free Speech for the People, a progressive advocacy group collaborating with a bloc of voters, aimed to disqualify President Trump based on a post-Civil War constitutional clause. This clause prohibits individuals engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” from holding office if they have previously sworn allegiance to the United States. A parallel lawsuit, following a similar trajectory, was filed in Colorado by another left-leaning entity.
Approximately a month ago, Michigan’s Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat who had previously expressed opposition to President Trump’s claims regarding the 2020 election, unveiled the finalized list of names for the 2024 presidential primaries in her state. She emphasized that this list would stand unless legally contested.
Throughout 2023, over a dozen lawsuits sought to invalidate President Trump’s candidacy, employing various interpretations of the 14th Amendment. Free Speech for the People pursued a comparable suit in Minnesota, which was ultimately rejected. In response to the dismissal, President Trump celebrated on his social media platform, Truth Social, denouncing the legal action as a “HOAX.”
“Ridiculous 14th Amendment lawsuit just thrown out by Minnesota Supreme Court. … Congratulations to all who fought this HOAX.”
A Republican U.S. House representative has put forth a proposal for a bill that seeks to nullify the votes of any state that removes a presidential candidate from its ballots. Representative Clay Higgins (R-La.) introduced the bill last week, accompanied by the remark, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes,” and a seasonal greeting of “Have a very MAGA Christmas.”
In Georgia, a number of Republican state legislators are considering a similar bill aimed at preventing President Biden from being included on the ballot. Expressing concern over the Colorado court’s decision to bar Donald Trump from the ballot, they asserted that, under the same interpretation, Joe Biden would not be eligible for office due to his actions at the southern border and alleged questionable dealings with China. The lawmakers criticized the rationale behind removing Trump, citing it as a potentially troubling precedent.
While the Colorado high court acknowledged the gravity of their recent rulings and emphasized that conclusions were not reached lightly, dissenting Justice Carlos Samour argued that President Trump’s rights to due process were violated by the state court’s order.
“Our government cannot deprive someone of the right to hold public office without due process of law,” he wrote in his dissent. “Even if we are convinced that a candidate committed horrible acts in the past—dare I say, engaged in insurrection—there must be procedural due process before we can declare that individual disqualified from holding public office.”