Michigan judge fast-tracks lawsuit to force Trump off the ballot in Michigan

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as President in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

By Michigan Advance

October 11, 2023

BY STEVE NEAVLING, MICHIGAN ADVANCE

MICHIGAN—A Michigan judge said Monday that he’s going to fast-track a lawsuit that seeks to force Donald Trump off the 2024 ballot in Michigan on the grounds that he violated the US Constitution by engaging in an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

Court of Claims Judge James Robert Redford set an Oct. 16 deadline for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to respond to the lawsuit filed by activist Robert Davis.

Redford also invited Trump or his campaign to respond in an amicus brief by Oct. 23.

“I’m glad the court is treating this as an emergency and expediting it in every way,” Davis tells Metro Times. “Judge Redford has requested the secretary of state to address some very important questions regarding certain areas of federal law. The fact that he wants to give the Trump campaign an opportunity to also provide their arguments to this case shows the serious nature of it.”

Redford also combined Davis’s lawsuit with a similar one filed by the nonprofit Free Speech For People and attorney and former Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer.

In their complaint, they argue that Trump is disqualified from holding public office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment for his role in “inciting and facilitating” the insurrection at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, just after the November 2020 general election in which President Joe Biden defeated Trump.

In Davis’s lawsuit filed on Sept. 15, he contends that Benson is “constitutionally obligated to determine whether a presidential candidate is eligible” to run for office. The suit was filed after Benson denied Davis’s request to remove Trump from the ballot.

Davis argues that Trump is ineligible to serve another term because Section 3 of the 14th Amendment prevents those who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. from holding office. He says Michigan election law clearly requires the secretary of state to determine a candidate’s eligibility.

Redford is a Republican who served as Gov. Rick Snyder’s chief legal counsel from January 2015 to February 2016. In April 2016, Snyder appointed Redford to serve as director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. Then in 2018, Snyder appointed Redford to fill a vacancy on the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Metro Times couldn’t immediately reach Trump’s campaign for comment.

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 

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