On Monday, Chief Judge John J. McConnell Jr., a federal judge in Rhode Island appointed by President Obama, rejected yet another legal challenge questioning former President Donald Trump’s qualification for the 2024 ballot.
The dismissal pertained to a 14th Amendment challenge filed by John Anthony Castro, a relatively unknown 2024 Republican presidential candidate, who initiated similar lawsuits in other states.
In October, the Supreme Court chose not to consider Castro’s appeal in his Florida case. Last week, the First Circuit Court of Appeals determined that Castro did not have the legal standing to pursue his lawsuit in New Hampshire.
This is Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., today he threw out a lawsuit challenging Donald J. Trump’s right to be on the presidential ballot in Rhode Island.— TaraBull (@TaraBull808) November 27, 2023
Castro’s legal actions assert that Trump is not qualified to hold office according to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits individuals who took an oath to the Constitution and subsequently participated in insurrection from holding public office. Castro contends that Trump’s candidacy jeopardizes his chances of gaining voters and support.
McConnell based his decision on the rationale presented in the First Circuit’s opinion, which determined that, at the time of filing the complaint, Castro was not a direct and current competitor of Trump.
Hence, the court ruled that he had not demonstrated, at that point, that he had met the injury-in-fact requirement in the standing assessment.
“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. 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,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said.
Similar challenges to ballots have been dismissed by courts in Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Michigan. In a case initiated by the left-leaning donor-supported organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a state judge in Colorado, on November 17, ruled that Trump incited an insurrection on January 6, 2021.
However, the judge concluded that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment did not apply to Trump because he is not a United States officer.