Michigan Judge Rules Trump Permitted On Primary Ballot

A judge ruled on Tuesday that Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson cannot exclude Donald Trump from the primary ballot using an unconventional interpretation of a little-known clause in a Civil War-era amendment.

Judge James Robert Redford of the Michigan Court of Claims ordered Secretary of State Benson to include all presidential candidates on the primary ballot, citing Michigan law.

His judgment deals a setback to lawsuits nationwide attempting to leverage the Fourteenth Amendment to prevent Trump from appearing on the ballot. Trump’s legal team argues that Section 3 of the amendment, often referred to as the “Insurrection Clause,” was originally designed to bar former Confederates from holding office in the U.S. government.

Judge Redford stated that it is the responsibility of Congress to decide whether Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, warrant disqualification from the ballot.

He mentioned that Congress not only has the power to lift a disqualification under Section 3, as demonstrated by its enactment of a comprehensive law granting amnesty to numerous Confederates, but it also has the more expansive ‘proactive’ authority to determine the initial application of Section 3.

The judge highlighted that Section 5 of the 14th Amendment grants Congress the authority to “enforce by appropriate legislation the provisions of this article.”

During a Democratic majority in the House, Trump faced impeachment twice, with one instance related to his actions on January 6. However, the Senate acquitted him. Congress has yet to legislatively or otherwise establish Trump’s guilt for an act of insurrection.

Trump’s legal team maintains that the events of January 6, 2001, were not an insurrection and contends that Trump bears no responsibility for them.

The Supreme Court has never issued a ruling on Section 3, leading to lawsuits from left-wing groups nationwide in courts that may be receptive to their interpretation.

Trump’s legal representatives assert that the amendment does not extend to presidents, as the presidency is not explicitly listed among the specified positions in the text. They bolster their argument by pointing out that the oath outlined in the amendment differs from the presidential oath.

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung expressed the Trump campaign’s satisfaction with the dismissals in Michigan and anticipated the dismissal of the other 14th Amendment cases. He emphasized the primary focus on winning the state of Michigan and securing President Trump’s re-election, referring to the numerous similar cases as “left-wing fantasies.”