Michigan court rejects challenges to Trump’s spot on primary ballot

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Court of Appeals said Thursday it won’t stop former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s 2024 Republican primary ballot, turning aside challenges from critics who argue that his role in the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol disqualifies him.

The court affirmed two lower court rulings without determining whether Trump falls under the insurrection clause in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

“Who to place on the primary ballot is determined by the political parties and the individual candidates,” the appeals court said in a 3-0 opinion, citing Michigan law.

The court further said Trump’s possible spot on a general election ballot was not ripe for consideration.

The two-sentence clause in the 14th Amendment has been used only a handful of times since the years after the Civil War. It’s likely that one of the lawsuits challenging Trump eventually will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has never ruled on the insurrection clause.

The Michigan court decision was similar to one from the Minnesota Supreme Court, which said Trump could stay on that state’s primary ballot there because the election is a party-run contest.

In one of the Michigan lawsuits, the anti-Trump plaintiffs included Bob LaBrant, a longtime Republican who was a lawyer and political strategist for decades at the state Chamber of Commerce.

In a statement, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said, “The Soros-funded Democrats have once again failed in their desperate attempt to interfere in the election via a bad-faith interpretation of the 14th Amendment.”