In a decisive legal victory, Michigan Court of Claims Judge James Robert Redford ruled in favor of President Donald Trump on Tuesday, ensuring the 45th President remains on the state’s GOP primary ballot. This ruling halted an attempt to disqualify Trump from the Michigan ballot, marking another setback for those seeking to leverage the Fourteenth Amendment against him.
Trump’s legal team heralded the decision as a triumph of legal precedent and fairness. The plaintiffs, hoping to use an “insurrectionist ban” derived from a Civil War-era clause in the Fourteenth Amendment, faced a significant blow when Judge Redford declared that such matters of eligibility lie within the authority of Congress, not state officials or the judiciary.
Michigan Judge James Redford Rules That Trump Can't Be Barred from the Primary Ballot https://t.co/9se3MrnFgR
— Ben Owen🇺🇸🇮🇱 (@hrkbenowen) November 16, 2023
The crux of the plaintiffs’ argument rested on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, often referred to as the “Insurrection Clause,” initially designed to prevent former Confederates from holding office.
Yet, as Judge Redford pointed out, the Constitution grants Congress, not the courts, the power to enforce this provision. The House of Representatives, despite having impeached Trump twice, never conclusively determined Trump’s role on January 6 as constituting an act of insurrection. Furthermore, Redford emphasized the proactive authority of Congress to apply Section 3 as it sees fit.
This decision comes at a pivotal moment, as Trump continues to lead in the polls for the 2024 Republican presidential primary race. Despite a series of lawsuits across various states alleging that Trump’s actions on January 6 disqualify him, none have succeeded. The Michigan ruling follows recent judicial decisions in Minnesota and potentially Colorado, where challenges against Trump’s candidacy are pending but expected to result in similar outcomes.
The Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, had earlier conceded her lack of authority to block Trump from the ballot, further solidifying the judge’s stance. The final list of primary candidates will include President Trump, barring any unexpected judicial intervention.
Judge Redford’s rulings were comprehensive, tackling the issue from multiple angles. He rejected the premature disqualification of Trump, highlighting the constitutional processes in place should a president-elect be deemed unqualified after an election.
The Trump campaign has responded to this and similar victories with a mix of celebration and resolve, expressing confidence in the re-election efforts and dismissing the lawsuits as “left-wing fantasies.” Conversely, the advocacy group Free Speech For People criticized the judge’s interpretation, signaling a continued legal struggle as they plan to appeal.
The outcome in Michigan affirms Trump’s place on the primary ballot and underscores the complex interplay between legal interpretation and political power. As the nation watches these unfolding legal battles, the ultimate decision may rest with the highest court in the land.