December 11, 2023

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an effort to keep former President Donald Trump off the state’s 2024 primary ballot.

The group that filed the petition seeking to bar Trump argued that he violated the U.S. Constitution’s so-called “insurrection clause” and is expected to appeal the court’s decision.

The bipartisan challengers including the nonprofit Free Speech for People, former Minnesota Secretary of State Joan Growe and former Supreme Court Justice Paul H. Anderson filed the request in September.

Their legal request sought to keep Trump off the Minnesota ballot, citing the clause found in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. This Civil War-era clause prohibits officials who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution from holding office if they’ve “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or “given aid or comfort” to those who did.

Newsweek reached out to Trump and Free Speech for People via email for comment Wednesday evening.

Donald Trump attends a Texas rally
Former President Donald Trump is pictured on the campaign stump November 2, 2023, in Houston, Texas. The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request to bar Trump from the 2024 primary ballot.
Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

In a four-page order, the court wrote that the “petitioners have standing and that their claims are ripe as to the issue of whether former President Trump should be excluded from the 2024 Republican presidential nomination primary.” However, it was decided that the petitioners were wrong in arguing the secretary of state shouldn’t place Trump’s name on the ballot for the state’s 2024 general election.

Chief Justice Natalie Hudson, who wrote the decision, said there is currently no state law that prohibits a political party from placing a name on the ballot for “a candidate who is ineligible to hold office.”

As such, the court left open the possibility for challengers to try to block Trump from the general election ballot if he wins the GOP nomination.

Similar challenges to Trump being on the 2024 ballot are ongoing in Michigan and Colorado. The “insurrection clause” has only been applied twice in the past 100 years, leading many experts to say such efforts to use it against Trump will likely be unsuccessful.

But multiple legal scholars have contended that the Constitution does indeed bar Trump from the ballot. Writing in The Atlantic this summer, retired judge J. Michael Luttig and Harvard Law School constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe made the argument for the 14th Amendment being used to prevent Trump from sitting in the White House again.

Tribe also discussed the issue on CNN in August, telling Wolf Blitzer, “The argument is really that the Constitution couldn’t be clearer.”

“It talks about insurrection or rebellion. But it also says that if you’ve taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, and thereafter give aid or comfort to the enemies of that Constitution, then you are disqualified, period,” Tribe added. “So, all of the charges against the president which, at the moment, don’t happen to include insurrection, are really beside the point.”