OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A state judge has quickly moved to strike down another effort to remove former President Donald Trump from the ballot under the ‘insurrection’ clause of the 14th Amendment.
In Wyoming, Albany County District Judge Misha Westby dismissed the claim without prejudice, according to Newsweek.
“Making a determination at this stage of the process would be imprecise, subject to speculation, and would create rather than diminish future controversies, because it would require engaging in legal details made in the abstract and result in a decision rendered without concrete factual background,” Westby wrote, according to the Cowboy State Daily.
Conservative lawyer Harmeet Dhillon posted two papers from the verdict on X, formerly Twitter, adding, “Not again! Yes, once again…Today, a federal judge in Wyoming rejected yet another 14th Amendment lawsuit. Bye!”
Tim Newcomb, a retired attorney, filed the Wyoming case against Trump and Senator Cynthia Lummis, a Republican from the state who refused to declare Joe Biden’s election victory, on November 1, 2023.
It sought to “preclude the names of Mr. Trump and Ms. Lummis from appearing on Wyoming ballots…and award reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred in prosecuting this action.” Newsweek has reached out to representatives of Donald Trump for comment by email.
Trump, who polls show is the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, has already been taken from the primary ballots in Colorado and Maine under the 14th Amendment, but his team is appealing both decisions to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justices decided late Friday afternoon to take an emergency appeal from Trump’s attorneys after the Colorado Supreme Court decided in a 4-3 ruling to remove him.
The nation’s highest court said that all briefs filed in the case are due by Jan. 31, and that the justices would hear oral arguments on Feb. 8, Fox News reported.
“The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The case is set for oral argument on Thursday, February 8, 2024,” the decision said. “Petitioner’s brief on the merits, and any amicus curiae briefs in support or in support of neither party, are to be filed on or before Thursday, January 18, 2024.”
At the same time, the high court issued a stay of Colorado’s order, instructing that state’s secretary of state to place Trump’s name back on the ballot pending the final decision in the case.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment stipulates that anyone who has previously sworn an oath to “support the Constitution of the United States” and “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” is ineligible to occupy “any office, civil or military” in the country. Trump’s detractors say that his purported attempt to alter the 2020 presidential election outcome, including his alleged role in the January 6 storming of Congress, constituted an insurrection, and that he is, therefore, unable to serve as president again.
In the ruling on December 19, the Colorado high court found that Trump is unable to appear on the state’s primary ballot since his conduct around January 6, 2021, “constituted overt, voluntary, and direct participation in the insurrection.”
Just days later, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, reached the same conclusion, concluding that Trump “used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol to prevent certification of the 2020 election and the peaceful transfer of power.”
The moves triggered a furious response from Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung, who said: “Make no mistake, these partisan election interference efforts are a hostile assault on American democracy. Biden and the Democrats simply do not trust the American voter in a free and fair election and are now relying on the force of government institutions to protect their grip on power.”
Trump has not been charged with insurrection, much less convicted of it.