Federal Judge Rules In Case to Keep Trump Off ’24 Ballot In Rhode Island


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

A federal judge in Rhode Island issued the latest ruling in attempts to keep former President Donald Trump off the 2024 ballot using a provision of the 14th Amendment.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell Jr., an Obama appointee, dismissed the case, which was filed by little-known ’24 GOP presidential candidate John Anthony Castro, who filed the suit in Rhode Island and several other states.

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of Castro’s case filed in Florida. And last week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that he lacked standing to bring a case in New Hampshire.

“Castro’s lawsuits allege Trump is ineligible to hold office under section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which restricts officials who took an oath to the Constitution and then ‘engaged in insurrection’ from holding office. He argues that he will lose potential voters and support if Trump remains a candidate,” the Daily Caller reported.

McConnell’s ruling tracked that of the First Circuit in that he found Castro was not “a direct and current competitor” of Trump when he filed his complaint.


“Accordingly, it follows that he has not shown that, as of that time, he had satisfied the injury-in-fact component of the standing inquiry,” McConnell ruled.

“The American people have the unassailable right to vote for the candidate of their choosing at the ballot box, something the Democrats and their allies driving these cases clearly disagree with,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement following the ruling. “President Trump believes the American voters, not the courts, should decide who wins next year’s elections and we urge a swift dismissal of all such remaining bogus ballot challenges.”

Courts have now rejected similar ballot challenges in Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Michigan.

That said, a state judge in Colorado who donated to “anti-insurrection” organizations before taking her current position on the bench ruled last week that Trump did engage in “insurrection” but determined the constitutional provision didn’t apply to him because he isn’t an “officer of the United States.” The Colorado Supreme Court has already agreed to hear an appeal of her ruling.


Judge Sarah B. Wallace ruled earlier this month that Trump was guilty of engaging in an insurrection but found that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which forbids anyone who engaged in such activity from running for office, does not specifically name the presidency.

“Part of the Court’s decision is its reluctance to embrace an interpretation which would disqualify a presidential candidate without a clear, unmistakable indication that such is the intent of Section Three,” the judge wrote.

“After considering the arguments on both sides, the Court is persuaded that ‘officers of the United States’ did not include the President of the United States,” she said. “It appears to the Court that for whatever reason the drafters of Section Three did not intend to include a person who had only taken the Presidential Oath.”


“If the court rules in favor of plaintiffs, Trump’s name would not appear on either the primary election ballot, nor the general election ballot, in next year’s presidential race,” Truthout reported regarding the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision last week to hear the case.

“Colorado is not necessarily a swing state — Trump lost to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election by more than 13 points — but the outcome of the case, if Trump is indeed removed, could inspire other states to take similar actions against the former president,” the outlet noted further.

A left-leaning organization in Washington called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics is representing some Republican and independent voters in the state who filed the lawsuit. They claim Trump incited his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021, though he implored them specifically to march “peacefully” to the Capitol to voice their disapproval for certifying the election on behalf of Biden.

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