In a landmark decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it has dismissed a lawsuit aimed at preventing former President Donald Trump from participating in the state’s primary ballot. The lawsuit, which sought to leverage a rarely-used constitutional provision, claimed that Trump’s alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol rendered him ineligible to run for office.
The court’s decision marks a significant moment in legal history, as it refused to be the first to utilize Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to bar an individual from pursuing the presidency. Chief Justice Natalie Hudson clarified that the lawsuit did not establish a violation of state law, emphasizing that there is no statute prohibiting a major political party from including an allegedly ineligible candidate on the primary ballot.
The ruling rests on the interpretation that state law allows parties the autonomy to nominate any candidate they choose for the presidential primary. This sidesteps the core question posed by the lawsuit – whether Trump’s purported role in the Capitol attack disqualifies him from the presidency.
BREAKING: The Minnesota Supreme Court has DENIED a request to exclude former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot based on the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause. pic.twitter.com/mxfDgycHLH
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) November 8, 2023
While the court’s decision permits Trump’s presence on the primary ballot, it leaves the door ajar for future legal challenges. Chief Justice Hudson hinted at the possibility that plaintiffs could attempt to exclude Trump from the general election ballot in November. This sets the stage for continued legal battles, particularly as the liberal group Free Speech For People, the instigator of the Minnesota challenge, affirms its commitment to ending Trump’s presidential bid.
Notably, this ruling is the inaugural outcome from a series of lawsuits filed by Free Speech For People and another liberal group, both aiming to leverage Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to terminate Trump’s candidacy in the Republican presidential primary.
In response to the court’s decision, Trump expressed his satisfaction on his social media platform, Truth Social. He labeled the lawsuit as a “ridiculous 14th Amendment lawsuit” and congratulated those who opposed what he termed a “HOAX.” The dismissal by the Minnesota Supreme Court is expected to be a catalyst for further legal proceedings, with many legal experts anticipating that the matter will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s noteworthy that the nation’s highest court has never ruled on the application of Section 3, adding an extra layer of significance to the potential escalation of this legal battle.