Minnesota Supreme Court dismisses “insurrection clause,” allows Trump on primary ballot

November 9, 2023

Minnesota’s state Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to use the “insurrection clause” in the 14th Amendment to prevent former President Trump from running in that state’s 2024 GOP primary.

Minnesota’s  hearing was one of two states’ lawsuits, so far, along with Colorado, though altogether similar suits have been filed in six states, and the question of whether Trump is Constitutionally eligible to potentially hold office again may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The lawsuits are based on a provision in the 14th Amendment that says any American official who has taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution is disqualified from holding office if they engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” or they’ve “given aid or comfort” to anyone else who has. The Amendment was established following the Civil War. 

“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,” Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Natalie Hudson ruled Wednesday.

The court did leave open the possibility that plaintiffs could try again to remove Trump from Minnesota’s election ballot in next year’s general election. The group that filed the lawsuit in that state, Free Speech For People, has said it will continue its campaign to end Trump’s run for reelection.

The issue of the 14th amendment surrounding Trump’s elegibility for office entered the national debate in earnest in August after two renowned legal scholars on opposite sides of the political spectrum raised the Constitutional argument: liberal Harvard Law professor emeritus Laurence Tribe and conservative retired federal judge Michael Luttig.

Luttig, who lives in Colorado, has noted that the 14th Amendment’s section 3 “functions as a sort of constitutional immune system” meant to “keep those who have fundamentally betrayed the constitutional order from keeping or resuming power.”

Trump has said numerous times that if he wins reelection, he would pardon those convicted of crimes linked to the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol while attempting to overturn President Biden’s 2020 electoral college victory.

However, Tribe has recently said that it’s “an error” to focus on January 6, for which Trump has denied any responsibility, when questioning his eligibility to be President again.

“It’s what he ADMITS—ATTEMPTING TO STAY IN POWER AFTER OFFICIALLY LOSING  THE ELECTION—that DEFINES ‘insurrection against the Constitution of the United States,'” Tribe explained on social media earlier this month.

In another thread Tribe elaborated, writing that “what Trump tried to do by holding onto the presidency by any means possible, from fake electoral slates to pressuring Pence to reject lawfully certified slates to fomenting violence on Jan 6, amounted to a classic case of a failed coup against the Constitution itself and not just an attempt to overthrow an agency of the government…Trump sought to seize the government for himself rather than to dismantle it, a distinction without a difference when it comes to the text and purpose of the Disqualification Clause of the 14th Amendment…”

On his platform Truth Social, Trump responded to the Minnesota ruling, writing, “Ridiculous 14th Amendment lawsuit just thrown out by Minnesota Supreme Court.” He added, “Congratulations to all who fought this HOAX!”

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