The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an effort to keep former President Donald Trump off the state's primary ballot in 2024.
The court heard arguments last week after a group of voters filed a petition to ban Trump from the 2024 GOP primary and general election ballots.
Their petition argued that Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which says no one who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after having sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution can hold office.
The court wrote in Wednesday's order that “there is no state statute that prohibits a major political party from placing on the presidential nomination primary ballot, or sending delegates to the national convention supporting, a candidate who is ineligible to hold office.”
The court did not address the larger question of whether Trump is eligible to be placed on the general election ballot in the ruling, leaving the door open for future challenges to his eligibility should he win the primary.
Ron Fein, the legal director of Free Speech For People, the nonprofit group representing the Minnesota voters who filed the petition, said Wednesday that the group was “disappointed by the court’s decision.”
“However, the Minnesota Supreme Court explicitly recognized that the question of Donald Trump’s disqualification for engaging in insurrection against the U.S. Constitution may be resolved at a later stage,” Fein said in a statement, noting that the decision wasn’t “binding” in courts outside Minnesota.
The group is engaged in a separate challenge to Trump's eligibility in Michigan, which will be argued Thursday before a state judge.
A state judge is expected to rule on a similar case in Colorado after a hearing last week related to a lawsuit filed on behalf of six voters in Denver district court in September.
Trump has dismissed efforts to remove his name from ballots, calling them “nonsense” and “election interference.”
A Trump campaign spokesman echoed those arguments in a statement after Wednesday’s ruling in Minnesota.
The spokesman, Steven Cheung, lauded the court’s ruling as “further validation of the Trump Campaign’s consistent argument that the 14th Amendment ballot challenges are nothing more than strategic, un-Constitutional attempts to interfere with the election.”
John Bonifaz, a lawyer for Free Speech For People, told NBC News on Wednesday that the ruling in Minnesota “clearly leaves the door open for renewing it in the general election stage,” but he declined to comment on whether the group would try to renew such a challenge.
Similar challenges to Trump’s eligibility as a 2024 presidential candidate have gained momentum in other states, with top election officials in Arizona, New Hampshire and elsewhere weighing concerns similar to those raised in Minnesota as they prepare state ballots for next year’s Republican presidential primaries.