Lawsuit filed to remove Donald Trump from 2024 ballot

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(ABC 6 News) – A handful of groups nationwide are pushing to remove former President Donald Trump from the 2024 presidential ballot.

Now that fight has come to Minnesota in the form of a lawsuit filed with state’s Supreme Court.

It’s all because of an insurrection clause in the 14th amendment of the constitution. It prohibits anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the constitution from holding public office if they’ve engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States.

University of Minnesota law professor David Schultz says legal historians are unsure if this clause, which was intended for officers of the confederacy after the Civil War, applies to our modern day.

“Even if it is good law, should it be used as a way of keeping Donald Trump off the ballot?” questioned Schultz.

The group Free Speech For People argue that it should.

In a letter to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, they say Trump’s actions to allegedly overturn the results of the 2020 election make him ineligible to hold executive office and he should be taken off the ballot.

“There’s been growing interest in this legal theory out there that the constitution may deem particular candidates, former President Trump in particular, ineligible to run for president,” said Simon.

According to Simon, that is not the role of his office to decide. Instead, it’s up to the courts.

“We will always abide by what the courts tell us to do, but really that’s their determination, not our determination,” said Simon.

If the courts decide the insurrection clause does apply, the next big question they will have to answer is whether Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021 can be considered an insurrection under the law.

Donald Trump is currently facing felony charges for his alleged attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election, as part of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s wide-ranging investigation.

“There are some concerns regarding whether this use of the insurrection clause effectively preempts these criminal trials, and that raises some important questions that I think the courts have to address,” said Schultz.

These cases are set to go to trial during the primary election season next year, and depending on if he is found guilty of insurrection, it could impact whether he is allowed to appear on the ballot.

“Whether you like Donald Trump or not, there is the presumption of innocence until proved guilty,” said Schultz.

Despite experts being split on whether this provision applies in the modern era, it does have some recent applications.

In 2022, a judge in New Mexico barred a rural county commissioner from the ballot under this clause, for entering the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

As for Donald Trump, he continues to deny all wrongdoing and rejects the push to remove him from the ballot, calling it “election interference.”