A group of voters filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to keep former President Donald Trump off the ballot in Minnesota, the latest in a series of efforts to cite a little-known provision of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment to argue that Trump is not electable. president because he violated his oath of office through his conduct following his defeat in the 2020 election.
“Donald J. Trump, by his words and actions, after taking an oath as an officer of the United States to support the Constitution, engaged in insurrection or rebellion, or gave aid and comfort to his enemies, as defined by Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment,” says the lawsuit, which was filed with the help of the liberal election finance and campaign reform organization Free Speech for People.
Civil War-era Article 3 says: “No one shall. . . hold an office, civil or military, in the United States, . . . who, having previously taken an oath. . . as an officer of the United States, to support the Constitution of the United States, he must have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against it, or given aid or comfort to its enemies.
This is the second such complaint filed this month. Last week, another group of voters backed by the left-leaning government watchdog CREW filed a lawsuit to block Trump from participating in the Colorado election. Similar challenges have also been filed in Florida and Michigan.
Trump called the efforts “nonsense” and “election interference.”
Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, said in a statement that the legal action was necessary because Trump “incited a violent insurrection that attacked the U.S. Capitol, threatened the vice president with assassination and Congressional leaders and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation’s history. »
“Our predecessors understood that insurrectionists who violated their oath would do it again, and worse, if they were allowed to return to power. So they passed the insurrectionist disqualification clause to protect the republic from people like Trump. Trump is legally excluded from the ballot and election officials must follow this constitutional mandate,” Fein added.
The Minnesota lawsuit does not name Trump as a defendant — it targets Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat. The Democrat had previously rejected letters from Free Speech For People urging him to act.
“The Minnesota Secretary of State’s office does not have the legal authority to investigate a candidate’s eligibility for office. In the case of presidential candidates, the major political parties will submit candidate names to our office for the presidential nominating primary before January 2. “These proposals will appear on the March 5, 2024, ballot unless a court orders otherwise,” Simon said in a statement last week.
The filing insists Simon has the authority to act and seeks a court order declaring Trump disqualified and ordering Simon to keep Trump’s name off ballots for the primary and general elections.
In a statement Tuesday, Simon’s office said, “For the sake of Minnesota voters, we hope the court resolves this issue to allow for the orderly administration of elections in 2024.”
A Trump campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump had previously largely ignored talk of disqualification efforts, but he became more vocal this month in publicly opposing them and asking his lawyers to get involved in the Colorado case.
In a post last week on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump said the law was on his side. “Nearly all legal scholars have expressed the opinion that the 14th Amendment has no legal basis or status with respect to the 2024 presidential election. Like election interference, it is simply another ‘gimmick’ “used by radical left communists, Marxists and fascists.” he wrote.
However, some lawyers, including prominent conservatives, believe the effort could be successful.