Minnesota voters petition state Supreme Court to block Trump from 2024 ballot
A group of Minnesota voters has filed a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court in an attempt to block former President Donald Trump from appearing on state ballots in the 2024 election.
The group, which includes former state representative and DFL Secretary of State Joan Growe as well as retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson, filed its petition Tuesday, saying the 14th Amendment’s “Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause” bars Trump from holding public office.
That clause states anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” shall not be able to hold any public office.
“Section three of the 14th Amendment was adopted really to address the problems of the civil war,” said David Schultz, a professor of political science at Hamline University and a professor of law at the University of Minnesota. “There’s serious debate regarding whether this still applies now as a constitutional or legal matter.”
He added, “Even if it still has life now, there are a whole bunch of questions about its desirability and use.”
One of the questions that will likely be debated in court is whether the clause can be applied if a candidate has not been convicted of an insurrection in a criminal case. The lawsuit argues engaging in an insurrection does “not require previous conviction.”
“Even if a court would be willing to find Donald Trump in fact engaged in an insurrection from the meaning of the 14th Amendment, there’s a separate question of are these plaintiffs the right people to bring this suit,” explained Jill Hasday, the Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Centennial Professor in Law at the University of Minnesota. “You have to show I have some particular injury.”
The plaintiffs include former Minnesota Secretary of State Joan Growe, former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson, and former Steele County GOP Co-Chair David Thul.
Groups in other states have filed similar challenges. In Colorado, the case was recently moved to federal court. Trump’s campaign on Tuesday sent a message about another challenge in New Hampshire to that state’s secretary of state, saying, “There is no legal basis for these claims to hold up in any legitimate court of law.”
“Even if these particular plaintiffs [in Minnesota] don’t have standing, it seems very likely eventually someone will have standing and a court will have to decide the merits,” said Hasday. “It does seem like something to be very likely appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court.”
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon released a statement last week, noting his office “has received hundreds of emails, calls, and letters regarding a legal argument that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution calls into question the eligibility of former President Donald Trump to run for office again.”
Simon said his office “does not have legal authority to investigate a candidate’s eligibility for office” and, therefore, the names of candidates submitted to the state on time will appear on the ballot, “unless a court says otherwise.”
“Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. 204B.44) allows one or more people to challenge in court the eligibility of a candidate to appear on a ballot. Our office will continue to honor the outcome of that process, as we have in the past,” Simon’s statement added.
In response to the filing on Tuesday, his office said, “This morning the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State was notified of a lawsuit filed with the Minnesota Supreme Court asking to disqualify former President Donald Trump from running for office in Minnesota. For the sake of Minnesota’s voters, we hope the court resolves this issue to allow for orderly administration of the elections in 2024.”
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Jan. 6 committee found that Trump “lit that fire” of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.