Lawsuit Dismissed to Remove Trump From Ballot

Judge Robin Rosenberg delivered a ruling on Thursday that dismissed a lawsuit aimed at challenging the presence of former President Donald Trump on the presidential ballot under the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. The lawsuit, filed by Florida attorney Lawrence Caplan and two others just one week prior, was part of a broader nationwide effort to utilize the Fourteenth Amendment to exclude Trump from the ballot, citing his alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riots.

The lawsuit was primarily based on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that public officials are ineligible to hold office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the United States. However, Judge Rosenberg, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, dismissed the case on standing grounds, asserting that the plaintiffs lacked a “cognizable” injury that would grant them standing to bring the lawsuit. She emphasized that the injuries alleged from the Capitol Hill insurrection over two years ago were not particular to the plaintiffs and therefore did not provide a valid basis for the legal challenge.

Furthermore, Judge Rosenberg noted that “an individual citizen does not have standing to challenge whether another individual is qualified to hold public office.” She cited two prior court rulings that also rejected plaintiffs’ attempts to bar candidates from the ballot due to their involvement in the events of January 6, 2021.

The Fourteenth Amendment’s “disqualification” clause has gained momentum in recent months, with legal scholars from various ideological backgrounds proposing its use to prevent Trump from running for office again. Some have argued that Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment disqualifies Trump and potentially others based on their alleged involvement in attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Several state secretaries of state have been grappling with similar challenges in recent weeks. In New Hampshire, Secretary of State David Scanlan, a Republican, confirmed that he was not seeking to remove any names from the GOP primary ballot, despite calls from some quarters to do so. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes stated that state law prohibited the use of the Fourteenth Amendment to exclude Trump from the ballot, citing a decision by the Arizona Supreme Court.

The case, known as Caplan v. Trump, was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and sought to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment’s provisions to challenge Trump’s eligibility for the presidential ballot. However, Judge Rosenberg’s ruling underscores the importance of establishing standing in such cases and the complexities involved in utilizing the Fourteenth Amendment for this purpose.