BREAKING: Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously dismisses Section 3 claim against Trump, permits him to appear on the primary ballot (but issues no decision on general election)

The Minnesota Supreme Court’s order is here. (Disclosure: I filed an amicus brief in support of neither party in the case.) Two justices recused (without explanation, but presumably due to conflicts from legal representation in their election campaigns). From the order:

We conclude that petitioners have standing and that their claims are ripe as to the issue of whether former President Trump should be excluded from the 2024 Republican presidential nomination primary. We reach a different conclusion regarding petitioners’ claim that it would be error for the Secretary of State to place former President Trump’s name on the ballot for the 2024 general election ballot. That claim is neither ripe, nor is it “about to occur” as section 204B.44(a) requires.

With respect to the only ripe issue before us at this time, we conclude that under section 204B.44, there is no “error” to correct here as to the presidential primary election if former President Trump’s name is included on the presidential primary ballot after the Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota provides his name to the Secretary of State, notwithstanding petitioners’ claim that former President Trump is disqualified from holding office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. . . . [A]lthough the Secretary of State and other election officials administer the mechanics of the election, this is an internal party election to serve internal party purposes, and winning the presidential nomination primary does not place the person on the general election ballot as a candidate for President of the United States. As we explained in De La Fuente, in upholding the constitutionality of this statutory scheme for the presidential nomination primary, “[t]he road for any candidate’s access to the ballot for Minnesota’s presidential nomination primary runs only through the participating political parties, who alone determine which candidates will be on the party’s ballot.” 940 N.W.2d at 494–95. And 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.

Earlier this week, I noted the Supreme Court would not review the case if it was decided on a state law basis–which is the case here. The case won’t go to the United States Supreme Court (barring a novel theory of inherent Secretary of State power).

A downside to this opinion, of course, is that it expressly reserves the question for the general election, kicking the can down the road.

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