Former President Donald Trump won a major victory this week, when the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected the attempt to remove Trump from the GOP primary ballot in the state.
Some groups had challenged whether Trump could appear on the ballot, citing the “insurrectionist ban” that’s included in the 14th Amendment. The high court in Minnesota, though, said it wouldn’t allow Trump to be removed from the primary ballot, but said that the challengers could try to block him from the general election ballot for next year if he were to ultimately win the GOP nomination.
Ratified following the Civil War, the 14th Amendment says that any official in the U.S. who takes an oath to uphold the Constitution will be banned from holding office in the future if they “engaged in insurrection.”
However, the Constitution doesn’t specifically lay out how the ban should be enforced. It’s also only been used two different times since 1919, one of the main reasons why most experts believe the challenges to Trump’s name appearing on the ballot don’t have much chance of succeeding.
Trump’s legal team was hoping that the Minnesota Supreme Court would completely shut down this case, but the justices didn’t go that far. They only protected Trump from being removed from the primary ballot for now, leaving open the possibility that a challenge could ultimately remove his name from the general election ballot.
In its ruling, the court wrote:
“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.”
As such, the justices wrote “there is no error to correct” at this point.
The case was dismissed by the justices because of this, but they also added that the challengers wouldn’t be prevented from “bringing a petition raising their claims as to the general election.”
In ruling this way, the Minnesota Supreme Court didn’t weigh in at all on whether the Capitol riots in January of 2021 amounted to an insurrection, nor whether Trump ever “engaged” in that insurrection, which could disqualify him from holding future office.
It’s possible that the challengers in the case, a bipartisan group of voters in Minnesota, could still appeal the decision up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The GOP primary in Minnesota is scheduled for March 5.
Following the ruling, Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said:
“[The decision] is further validation of the Trump Campaign’s consistent argument that the 14th Amendment ballot challenges are nothing more than strategic, un-Constitutional attempts to interfere with the election.”
As such, he said that all lawsuits like it “should be summarily thrown out wherever they next arise.”
Similar challenges are in the works in Michigan and Colorado. Closing arguments are set to take place on November 15 in Colorado.
Despite more of these challenges arising, many legal experts believe that there will be appeals that make it up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which would then make the final decision for how every state in the nation would have to act.