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Mich. Supreme Court filing seeks to block Trump from primary ballot

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
(Photo: Lester Graham/Michigan Radio)

A group seeking to bar former President Donald Trump from the state’s Republican primary ballot has taken its challenge to the Michigan Supreme Court and asked for a decision no later than Christmas Day.

The group Free Speech for People has already lost in lower courts but still hopes to prevail in its argument that Trump is not eligible to appear on the ballot under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment due to his role in the January 6 insurrection.

Rulings by the Michigan Court of Claims and the Michigan Court of Appeals held that any questions about eligibility should wait until after Republicans choose a nominee.

The application filed with the Michigan Supreme Court said the logic behind lower court rulings on at least some of the questions “is completely untethered from the amendment’s purpose to protect the republic from oath-breaking insurrectionists.”

The Trump campaign has called that argument “a bad faith interpretation of the 14th Amendment” and “frivolous.”

The 14th Amendment was adopted following the Civil War and was aimed specifically at soldiers and government officials who had served in the Confederacy. It required Congress to vote to restore many rights, including the ability to hold office. Free Speech for People says it also applies to Trump.

Free Speech for People has asked the Michigan Supreme Court for speedy consideration in time to meet ballot deadlines ahead of the state’s February 27 presidential primary.

If Trump is disqualified from appearing on Michigan’s primary or general election ballots, it would deal a profound setback to his campaign. His campaign faces similar challenges in other states and it is possible one or more of those cases will head to the U.S. Supreme Court to be settled.

Copyright 2023 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.