Bid to Block Trump from Ballot Dismissed in MN Supreme Court

Paul Ellertson, staff writer

“Minnesota Judicial Center, Home of the Minnesota Supreme Court, St. Paul, Minnesota” by Ken Lund obtained from Creative Commons 

On Nov. 8, the Minnesota Supreme Court blocked an attempt to take Donald Trump, former United States president, off of the 2024 GOP ballot for both the general and primary presidential elections. According to NBC, a bi-partisan group of Minnesota voters made a petition to take Trump off the ballot as a result of his actions on Jan. 6, 2021. The group did this because they believed Trump should not be able to run for office because of the rule stated in section three of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that an elected official who has sworn an oath to support and defend the constitution and who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” should no longer be able to hold a public office position. 

According to NBC, the court wrote following the decision, “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.” The court however did not focus on the bigger question that addressed whether or not Trump was allowed to be on the ballot for the general election, leaving the possibility to challenge his eligibility in the primary election. 

According to NBC, Free Speech For People Director Ron Fein stated on Wednesday that the group of voters were “disappointed by the court’s decision.” The Minnesota Supreme Court said the voters can come back another time to challenge whether Trump should be on the ballot. 

The challenge to Trump’s eligibility is gaining momentum in other states as well, such as in Michigan, Colorado, New Hampshire and Arizona. According to AP News, on Nov. 9, Michigan’s Supreme Court held a hearing after a group of Michigan voters also challenged Trump’s eligibility. Judge James Robert Redford of Michigan has yet to make a decision on the matter, and acknowledged, “I fully recognize I am not the last word on whatever happens in this case,” in a quote from AP News. According to NBC, a Colorado state judge is also set to make a similar decision to Minnesota after a hearing that took place on Oct. 30.

Former President Trump himself has referred to these actions as “nonsense” and “election interference.” According to NBC, Steven Cheung, Trump’s campaign spokesman, has echoed this claim from Trump, saying that voters are using the Fourteenth Amendment to unconstitutionally interfere with the election. Cheung also added to Trump’s argument that these ballot challenges “should be thrown out whenever they arise,” according to CNN.

The Minnesota ruling, signed by Chief Justice Natalie Hudson, said the case was dismissed to “keep an orderly election” according to CNN. While these cases are brought up by left-wing activists, they are being investigated by groups of bi-partisan judges. The Minnesota voter group acknowledged that “the court didn’t rule in favor of Trump, they are just concerned with technicalities,” in a quote from CNN. Derek Muller, election expert at Notre Dame Law School, submitted a neutral brief providing key legal questions on Trump’s eligibility to the MN court and described the court’s decision as “kicking the can down the road” in a quote from CNN. Muller described this because Minnesota voters still have the opportunity to appeal the court’s decision during the general election time. 

As of the writing of this article, no state has blocked Trump from their ballot. It will be interesting to see the outcome of those attempting to do so in the coming months.