Former President Donald Trump has prevailed in 18 states to remain on the ballot for the 2024 presidential election, with cases against him pending in another 16.
Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has faced attempts backed by Democrats to remove him from state ballots — under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a Civil War-era provision that bars anyone who has previously taken an oath as an officer of the United States and, then, committed or aided an insurrection or rebellion, from holding federal office — based on his actions on Jan. 6, 2021. Two states’ authorities — Colorado and Maine — have attempted to disqualify Trump, though their decisions have been stayed pending a decision on the matter from the Supreme Court of the United States.
Lawsuits to remove Trump from the ballot, mostly filed by voters backed by left-wing organizations, have been dismissed in ten states — Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Minnesota, Michigan, Rhode Island, Washington, Arizona, Florida and West Virginia, according to data aggregated by Lawfare. In the latter three states, the suits were dismissed but have been appealed by the plaintiffs.
Washington on Thursday became the latest state to reject a challenge to Trump’s eligibility after Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson dismissed a lawsuit against the state’s secretary of state seeking to keep the former president off the state’s ballot.
In several states, the plaintiffs in the case voluntarily dismissed their suits against Trump, these were in Utah, Idaho, Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Pending suits to dismiss Trump are ongoing in the states of Alaska, California, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York and New Hampshire, according to Lawfare. In several of these states, such as California and New Hampshire, the suits were commenced after executive authorities declined to block Trump from the state ballot amid calls to do so.
Many of the cases have been filed by a single plaintiff, John Anthony Castro, an attorney and tax preparation consultant in Mansfield, Texas. Castro has run for political office several times and is currently a Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election, though he was arrested on Jan. 9 and indicted on charges of tax fraud.
The U.S. Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the Colorado case, Trump v. Anderson, with oral arguments set for Feb. 8, 2024. While president, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, but was acquitted by the Senate.
Trump’s attorneys have attacked the efforts to remove him as being “dubious interpretation[s] of section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment,” according to their brief in the Supreme Court case. They have also warned the efforts “threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans and which promise to unleash chaos and bedlam if other state courts and state officials follow Colorado’s lead.”
Trump was initially disqualified from the state ballot by Colorado’s Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision on Dec. 19, 2023. “President Trump engaged in insurrection,” wrote the court in a per curiam opinion, rejecting his argument that his speech was protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In Maine, the state’s Democratic Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows, announced a decision on Dec. 28, 2023, to remove him from the ballot after challenges by voters in the state. “I conclude… that the record establishes that Mr. Trump, over the course of several months and culminating on January 6, 2021, used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol to prevent certification of the 2020 election,” she wrote.
Bellows, on Friday, appealed to the Maine Supreme Court to review her decision. Trump is currently leading President Joe Biden, the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, in multiple battleground state polls.