The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking to disqualify former President Donald J. Trump from holding office again under the 14th Amendment.

Election officials and the courts did not have the authority to stop the Republican Party from offering Mr. Trump as a primary candidate, the justices found. They did not rule on the merits of the petitioners’ constitutional argument: that Mr. Trump’s actions before and during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol amounted to “engaging in insurrection” against the Constitution after taking an oath to support it.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868 to keep former Confederates out of the government, says anyone who has done that is ineligible to hold office.

Minnesota’s presidential primary, scheduled for March, 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,” the court wrote in an order signed by Chief Justice Natalie E. Hudson, with no noted dissents.

There is no law in Minnesota prohibiting a political party from putting a constitutionally ineligible candidate’s name on the ballot, it continued, and so “there is no error to correct here as to the presidential nomination primary.”

The court emphasized that the petitioners were free to file the same claims again later, challenging Mr. Trump’s inclusion on the general-election ballot if he wins the Republican nomination. For now, it did not address the constitutional questions surrounding whether the 14th Amendment applies to Mr. Trump.

Though the ruling was procedural, Mr. Trump’s campaign promoted it as a substantive victory. Steven Cheung, a campaign spokesman, called it “further validation of the Trump campaign’s consistent argument that the 14th Amendment ballot challenges are nothing more than strategic, unconstitutional attempts to interfere with the election by desperate Democrats who see the writing on the wall.”

Ron Fein, the legal director at Free Speech for People, the left-leaning group that filed the case on behalf of a group of Minnesota voters and is also suing in other states, said: “We are disappointed by the court’s decision. However, the Minnesota Supreme Court explicitly recognized that the question of Donald Trump’s disqualification for engaging in insurrection against the U.S. Constitution may be resolved at a later stage.”

The Minnesota petition is the second case challenging Mr. Trump’s eligibility that has been dismissed on procedural grounds, after one in New Hampshire. No court has yet ruled on the merits of the 14th Amendment argument.

A state district court judge in Colorado is expected to rule in a similar case in the coming weeks after a recent five-day hearing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *