Trump’s lawyers ask court to toss Michigan suit to ban him from the ballot – MLive.com
Donald Trump addresses supporters at Drake Enterprises, Inc. in Clinton Township on Wednesday, Sept. 27 2023. Jacob Hamilton | MLive.com Jacob Hamilton | MLive.com
Lawyers for Donald Trump said Jan. 6, 2021 was a riot, not an insurrection, as they argued to a Michigan judge that the former president can’t be barred from appearing on the 2024 ballot.
The suit, in the state’s court of claims, posits Trump should be legally barred from holding office again under a section of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment because of statements that led a mob of his followers to attack the U.S. Capitol as Congress convened to certify now-President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
“Even if the events of January 6, 2021, could constitute an ‘insurrection’ (they do not), President Trump did not “engage” in it,” lawyers for Trump wrote in a brief filed Monday. “‘Engaging’ requires some level of active participation. Inaction is not sufficient.”
More: Trump must be thrown off Michigan’s 2024 ballot, suit argues
Trump wasn’t allowed to join the suit as a party so the brief was filed as a “friend of the court,” but regardless, it argued for the case to be dismissed, calling it “manifestly inappropriate.” The lawyers said the decision should be left to Congress, and that because the amendment mentions assuming office and not winning election, the lawsuit doesn’t apply.
They contend it’s the lawsuit that’s attempting to upend the democratic process, not Trump’s actions, and that voters should get to decide whether he’s worthy of holding office again. Michigan law dictates presidential primary candidates be chosen by party leaders and the secretary of state, who determine which candidates are prominent enough to be included on the ballot.
The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution bars public officials who have openly rebelled against the U.S. from holding office.
“Plaintiffs ask this court to decide that the citizens of Michigan cannot choose for themselves whether to vote for Trump,” the lawyers wrote, and that by forcing Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to remove Trump from the ballot, it would “empower the secretary of state with powers she does not have.”
Mark Brewer an attorney with the firm Goodman Acker, and former chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, filed the suit on behalf of four Michigan voters who purportedly intend to vote in the 2024 primary and general elections. Brewer had also filed a similar suit against Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley last year, but did not succeed in removing him from the ballot. Kelley was involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol and a federal judge sentenced him this month to 60 days imprisonment, a fine and probation.
The suit is one of several filed throughout the U.S. making similar arguments. A trial began this week in Colorado seeking to toss Trump from the ballot.
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