Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Michigan appeals court: Trump ‘must’ be on presidential primary ballot

trump speaking into a microphone
Donald Trump must appear on Michigan primary ballot despite insurrection clause challenges, court rules (File photo)
  • Michigan Court of Appeals rejects lawsuits to keep Trump off ballot over insurrection challenge
  • But general election eligibility remains an open question, judges say
  • Plaintiffs have already vowed to take fight to Michigan Supreme Court

LANSING — Donald Trump “must” appear on Michigan’s 2024 presidential primary ballot, the state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, rejecting lawsuits seeking to disqualify the former president for an alleged violation of an insurrection clause in the U.S. Constitution. 

But Trump’s qualification for the general election ballot remains an open question because he has not yet won the Republican nomination, making it a “purely hypothetical” debate that courts cannot yet resolve, the three-judge panel wrote in a 21-page opinion upholding lower court orders.


At issue is the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which disqualifies from federal office anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the country “or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”


Two lawsuits, first filed in state and Wayne County courts, argue Trump should not be allowed on presidential ballots because he encouraged supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol to block certification of President Joe Biden’s election.

But which candidates appear on the primary ballot is a decision ultimately left to political parties under Michigan law, the appeals court ruled Thursday, noting the Michigan Republican Party has already listed Trump as an eligible candidate. 

“The Secretary of State must place Trump on this ballot, regardless of whether he would be disqualified from holding office by the Insurrection Clause,” said the opinion from Judges Anica Letica, Michael Riordan and Thomas Cameron. 

Plaintiffs in the state case, including former Republican voters, have already vowed to take their fight to the Michigan Supreme Court, which last week denied an emergency request to bypass the traditional appeals court process. 

The Michigan lawsuit is among a series of similar legal challenges across the country, most of which have failed or not yet been decided. The Colorado Supreme Court heard oral argument in an insurrection challenge earlier this month, but it has not yet ruled. 

How impactful was this article for you?

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now