The Colorado Supreme Court is being made to look foolish once again after yet another state Supreme Court has rejected the idea of removing Trump from the ballot in the 2024 election.
On Wednesday, the Michigan Supreme Court rejected yet another attempt to have Trump removed from the ballot.
The case in Michigan is about one of a dozen cases that a longshot Republican and liberal groups have brought against Trump to try to remove him from the ballot via Section III of the 14th Amendment. This case was brought by the leftist nonprofit group Free Speech for People, which also brought a case in Oregon.
Michigan did as all but Colorado have done in rejecting the measure. The reasoning, however, was a bit different in that the lower courts ruled that the Secretary of State does not have the power to remove a candidate from the presidential ballot.
The Michigan Supreme Court, which Democrats control, had only one dissenting vote on the measure, which Justice Elizabeth Welch wrote.
Section III of the 14th Amendment states:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
This is a Civil War-era amendment that was created to block any members of the Confederacy from holding federal office after the war.
The one constitutional issue raised if this Amendment covers a primary race, which the language does not forbid, is why some believe these cases could be refiled if Trump wins the nomination (the section specifically stipulates “elector of President and Vice-President”).
The premise of all of these suits to have Trump removed is that he caused the “insurrection” on January 6, 2021, but that term has been thrown around quite loosely since that riot took place.
Two burning questions must be answered before Trump can be disqualified via Section III of the 14th Amendment. The first is whether what happened on January 6 qualifies as an insurrection. The second question would be whether Trump was the one that caused the events of that day. Trump has never been charged or convicted of insurrection or any derivative of insurrection, such as sedition.
However, if Trump were to win the election, then pardon anyone who had been convicted of sedition, that could be perceived as “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,” thereby disqualifying him from office.
I don’t see how any court can disqualify Trump before the primary election, and even then, it would be a stretch because Trump has never been formally charged or convicted of insurrection. Until that happens, virtually every constitutional expert I have talked to or read has stated this section of the 14th Amendment cannot be used to remove Trump from the ballot. Even then, the general consensus is that the charges would have to come from Congress to activate this against Trump.