Trump Sues to Block Efforts to Keep Him Off Michigan 2024 Ballot

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump is suing Michigan’s top election official to block an effort to disqualify him from appearing on state ballots in the 2024 presidential race.

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Trump’s lawsuit this week against Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson represents the latest escalation in a fight playing out in courts across the US over whether the Constitution’s ban on insurrectionists holding office makes Trump ineligible for another term in the White House.

So far Trump has been in a defensive posture, arguing for judges to toss out lawsuits brought by outside groups and individuals seeking to keep him off of ballots. But a judge handling a set of cases in Michigan recently ruled that the former president lacked legal grounds to join in as a party, prompting him to bring his own lawsuit.

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All of the ballot disqualification cases allege that Trump engaged in an insurrection by inciting his followers to attack the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election. Trump has denied the claims and disputed that the language at issue in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment gives courts authority to disqualify him.

Most of the dozens of ballot disqualification cases filed to date have been dismissed for procedural defects, but a handful are moving forward in state courts.

The Michigan case, which was filed Monday in the state’s Court of Claims and made public by a court official on Tuesday, comes as lawyers for Trump are in a Denver courtroom this week for a trial on whether he’s constitutionally barred from appearing on ballots in Colorado. And on Nov. 2, the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear arguments in another such case.

In the Colorado and Minnesota cases, Trump was allowed to fully participate as a party and hasn’t pursued the type of preemptive lawsuit that his lawyers brought in Michigan.

Benson, like a number of other secretaries of state who oversee election operations, has rebuffed calls to take action on her own to disqualify Trump from appearing on ballots, saying it’s an issue for the courts to decide. A spokesperson for her office declined to comment on pending litigation.

Although Benson hasn’t taken action yet, Trump’s lawyers are arguing that he has the right to sue because the lack of certainty over what Benson will do affects how he and his presidential campaign direct resources.

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