The Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed a petition Wednesday seeking to remove former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot because of his incitement of a “violent insurrection” on Jan. 6, 2021.
A group called Free Speech For People filed a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court Sept. 12 on behalf of several voters seeking to bar Trump from appearing on Minnesota’s presidential election ballots (primary and general) in 2024. The petition argued that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment prevents anyone who previously took an oath to the U.S. Constitution and then engaged “in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office again.
“Our predecessors understood that oath-breaking insurrectionists will do it again, and worse, if allowed back into power, so they enacted the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause to protect the republic from people like Trump. Trump is legally barred from the ballot and election officials must follow this constitutional mandate,” Ron Fein, legal director at Free Speech For People, previously said.
Trump’s attorneys argued that the “petitioners have no evidence that President Trump intended or supported any violent or unlawful activity seeking to overthrow the government of the United States, either on January 6 or at any other time.”
“On topic after topic, Petitioners seek to make up for the conspicuous absence of evidence by relying on innuendo, insinuation, and disdain for President Trump to win the day. Those are arguments for the American voters, not for this Court,” they wrote in a court filing.
The court on Wednesday dismissed the petition in its entirety but said Free Speech For People could refile a challenge to Trump’s appearance on the general election ballot if and when that happens.
“… there is no state statute that prohibits a major political party from placing on the presidential nomination primary ballot, or sending delegates to the national convention supporting, a candidate who is ineligible to hold office,” Chief Justice Natalie Hudson said in the order.
“Because there is no error to correct here as to the presidential nomination primary, and petitioners’ other claims regarding the general election are not ripe, the petition must be dismissed, but without prejudice as to petitioners bringing a petition raising their claims as to the general election,” she added.
Trump is facing similar challenges in Colorado and Michigan, which the Trump campaign said are being carried out by “sham groups doing the bidding of the Biden campaign.”
“Today’s decision in Minnesota, like New Hampshire before it, is further validation of the Trump Campaign’s consistent argument that the 14th Amendment ballot challenges are nothing more than strategic, un-Constitutional attempts to interfere with the election by desperate Democrats who see the writing on the wall: President Trump is dominating the polls and has never been in a stronger position to end the failed Biden presidency next November,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement.
Fein said he was disappointed in the court’s decision white noting that it “explicitly recognized that the question of Donald Trump’s disqualification for engaging in insurrection against the U.S. Constitution may be resolved at a later stage.”
“The decision isn’t binding on any court outside Minnesota and we continue our current and planned legal actions in other states to enforce Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment against Donald Trump,” he said.
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman David Hann called the effort to remove Trump from the ballot an “unprecedented attack on our democratic institutions.”
“The Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling should serve as a wake-up call to the allies of President Joe Biden and his failed agenda; courtrooms in Minnesota will not be used to prevent voters from fully participating in our elections,” he commented.