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Trump set for Michigan ballot as Supreme Court rejects insurrection case

Former President Donald J. Trump speaks during CPAC Conference 2024 at Gaylord National Resort Convention Center in Washington DC on February 24, 2024
In what he called a “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA,” the Supreme Court cleared the way for Donald Trump to appear on ballots in Michigan and other states. (lev radin /
  • Michigan and other states can’t bar Trump from the ballot, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday
  • The decision ends an ongoing court battle over whether an insurrection clause made Trump ineligible as a candidate
  • Michigan courts had already ruled in favor of keeping Trump on the primary ballot but had not decided his general election status

Former President Donald Trump can appear on the November ballot in Michigan and other states, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday, rebuffing attempts to bar him due to an insurrection clause in the U.S. Constitution. 

In a 20-page ruling that overturned a Colorado decision to keep him off ballots there, the country’s highest court unanimously agreed that the U.S. Constitution tasks Congress – not the states – with that decision.


“We conclude that states may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office,” justices said in an unsigned opinion. “But states have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 with respect to federal offices, especially the presidency.”

The decision in the Colorado case will effectively end a similar challenge in Michigan that was already rejected by courts here in the run-up to last week’s presidential primary. 


Monday’s ruling “appears to be the end of efforts by the states to keep (Trump) off the ballot,” said Mark Brewer, an attorney for plaintiffs in one of two Michigan cases that sought to keep Trump off the primary ballot.

“It's very disappointing,” Brewer told Bridge Michigan. “Obviously insurrectionists should not be candidates for office, whether at the state or federal level.”

At question is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies anyone from holding federal office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Opponents of the former president claim his actions on and after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol constituted a form of insurrection, therefore making him ineligible to seek reelection. 

The argument had swayed justices on the Colorado Supreme Court, but the Michigan Supreme Court had declined to take up a similar case.

The Michigan Court of Appeals in December allowed Trump to stay on the primary ballot – but did not weigh in on general election prospects – ruling unanimously that state political parties and individual candidates, not the secretary of state, could determine primary ballot access. 

In Monday’s ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices noted the insurrection clause does not outline whether a state has the power to remove from ballots candidates for federal office. Rather, the amendment only speaks “to enforcement by Congress, which enjoys power to enforce the Amendment through legislation.”

Justices also indicated that allowing states to decide independently whether to keep or kick federal candidates off the ballot would create a “patchwork” approach to elections that could sow chaos across the country.

In a radio interview early Monday, Trump said he was “very honored” by the unanimous ruling, which he called an important precedent “for future presidents.”

Trump won Michigan’s Republican presidential primary and state party caucuses last week and is likely to face Democratic President Joe Biden in the general election. 

“It’d be very hard to take away the vote from… the presumptive nominee in the Republican Party,” said Trump, who’d also posted to his Truth Social account the ruling was a “BIG WIN FOR AMERICA!!!”


The Colorado case began in September 2023, when six voters filed a petition against Trump and their secretary of state seeking to keep the former president off their ballots. The Colorado Supreme Court ultimately ruled Trump was disqualified because he “incited and encouraged the use of violence and lawless action to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”

Michigan courts came to a different conclusion. The Court of Appeals ruled in December the former president “must” appear on Michigan’s 2024 presidential primary ballot as the secretary of state had no authority to keep him off. 

The appeals court declined to pontificate on Trump’s eligibility for the general election ballot. At the time, he had yet to win the Republican nomination, so the question was “purely hypothetical,” a panel of judges said.

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