State courts to consider blocking Trump from 2024 ballot under the ‘insurrection’ clause

State Courts Are Considering Blocking Trump From Being On The 2024 Ballot Thanks To ‘Insurrection’ Clause

Colorado and Minnesota lawmakers are taking matters into their own hands to ensure former President Donald Trump doesn’t make it onto the 2024 ballot, PBS reports. Both states cited the “insurrection” clause of the U.S. Constitution in lawsuits that may make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Colorado’s lawsuit hearing began on Oct. 30 to ban Trump from the ballot, while Minnesota’s oral arguments are scheduled to start on Nov. 2. A ruling of this magnitude will be a first for the high court, as it has never ruled on the provision in the 14th Amendment that prohibits persons who swore under oath to uphold the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it while holding higher office.

Notre Dame law professor Derek T. Muller says candidates have had hearings before, but this is different.

“We’ve had hearings with presidential candidates debating their eligibility before—Barack Obama, Ted Cruz, John McCain,” said Muller said, but added that the current cases against Trump, which are using an obscure clause of the Constitution with the “incendiary” bar against insurrection, are very different.

“Those legal questions are very heavy ones.” 

Section Three of the 14th Amendment has been spotted in several filings in recent months. Colorado’s and Minnesota’s are especially significant, being that the lawsuits were filed by liberal groups with heavy legal resources, including targeted states with a clear process regarding a candidate’s ballot qualifications: in this case, arguing that because Trump attempted to overturn the 2020 election that led to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attacks, he’s disqualified from the presidency. A candidate not born in the United States would also be disqualified. 

The lawsuit out of Colorado by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, according to Roll Call, says, that Trump’s “efforts culminated on January 6, 2021, when he incited, exacerbated, and otherwise engaged in a violent insurrection at the United States Capitol by a mob who believed they were following his orders.” Minnesota’s lawsuit, supported by Free Speech for People, pushes for a court order to block Trump from the primary. 

Republicans claim both lawsuits are a violation of the First Amendment and also obstruct the party’s activity. In a press release, Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called the lawsuits an attempt to rob red voters of “their right to select the Republican presidential nominee.”

“We reject any attempts by outside actors to bar the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination from participating in our party’s primary,” Daines said. “Throughout our history, these decisions have been made at the ballot box.”

The committee has teamed up with the Republican National Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee to file a brief for the court to deny the challenge.