In an unfolding legal saga, former President Donald Trump is taking action to ensure his name appears on Michigan’s ballots for the 2024 presidential primary and general elections. This high-stakes legal maneuver has far-reaching implications not only for Trump but for the electoral process itself.
Trump’s legal team, led by skilled attorneys, has initiated a lawsuit against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The aim is clear: to challenge her authority in determining his eligibility, especially concerning the Constitution’s interpretation, which has sparked multiple legal disputes in several states. This lawsuit, filed in the Michigan Court of Claims on a Monday, requests the court to declare that Secretary Benson does not possess the authority to disqualify Trump under a particular constitutional interpretation. Additionally, Trump’s attorneys are seeking an injunction to prevent Benson from withholding Trump’s placement on Michigan’s ballots.
A Nationwide Issue
Notably, this legal battle in Michigan is not an isolated incident. It comes on the heels of a separate lawsuit in Denver, Colorado, with the same objective – securing Trump’s spot on the state’s ballot. Similar lawsuits have also been filed in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Minnesota. These cases indicate the broader implications of the legal interpretation at the center of Trump’s lawsuit, which extends far beyond state boundaries and may influence the nation’s future political landscape.
Secretary Benson, a Democrat, has publicly stated her intention not to obstruct Trump’s appearance on the ballot, arguing that determining eligibility is not within her purview. Her role in this legal drama underscores the complexity of the situation, where political considerations intersect with legal responsibilities.
However, the lawsuit contends that Benson’s inaction is creating uncertainty. It highlights her failure to respond to a letter from the Trump campaign, requesting confirmation of Trump’s ballot presence. This delay raises questions about the impact of political tensions on administrative decisions.
It’s worth noting that Benson is also facing legal actions in her own right, attempting to prevent her from listing Trump as a candidate. This legal counter-move adds a layer of complexity to the already intricate legal landscape.
The Constitutional Argument
The heart of the matter lies in several states’ legal efforts to disqualify Trump based on his alleged role in fomenting the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. These lawsuits often cite Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that anyone who has previously taken an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same” cannot hold office. This constitutional interpretation underscores the critical importance of the law in shaping the country’s political future.
Trump’s legal team argues that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is not “self-executing” and necessitates congressional specification on how it should be enforced. They contend that without congressional authorization, neither Benson nor the court can disqualify Trump under Section 3. This legal perspective brings into focus the delicate balance between constitutional interpretation and the role of legislative bodies in determining its implementation.
Defending His Status
Furthermore, Trump’s attorneys assert that Section 3 doesn’t apply to him because, as they argue, the president is not considered an “officer of the United States.” This argument reflects the intricate legal tactics employed to protect Trump’s eligibility.
The Insurrection Debate
In a final stance, Trump’s legal team argues that the events of January 6, 2021, do not meet the criteria of an insurrection. Even if they did, they maintain that Trump did not actively “engage” in it. This argument delves into the nuances of the legal definition of insurrection, adding depth to the legal discourse.