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New Mexico lawsuit joins other bids to keep Trump off state ballots

Several legal challenges cite a 14th amendment Civil War-era clause that bars a person from running for office if they've engaged in an insurrection.
Posted at 2:55 PM, Sep 14, 2023

A new federal lawsuit filed in New Mexico is joining numerous other legal attempts to keep former President Donald Trump from appearing on ballots in several states in the 2024 election.

John Anthony Castro, a longshot 2024 Republican presidential candidate, filed the challenge, citing a 14th amendment Civil War-era clause that bars people from running for office if they have participated in an act of insurrection against the country. Similar efforts have been filed in Minnesota and Colorado.

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The provision being used in these challenges is nestled at the end of the 14th amendment and has only been used a couple of times throughout history, but has gained renewed attention following the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. The self-proclaimed "non-partisan organization" Free Speech For People is a liberal group that filed a similar lawsuit in 2021 to keep Trump off the ballot in all 50 states.

This latest challenge comes as another state's top election official has rebuked this legal theory. New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan said Wednesday that anyone who meets the requirements to run for office will be printed on the ballots. 

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"As long as he submits his declaration of candidacy and signs it under the penalties of perjury and pays the $1,000 filing fee, his name will appear on the presidential primary ballot," Scanlan said at a press conference. "I'll be certainly watching what's happening with the courts on the issue, but we'll have to see how that plays out." 

These challenges come as Trump is dominating Republican primary polls despite his four criminal indictments: Three in federal court and one in Georgia regarding his alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. Regardless, the issue seems destined to make its way to the Supreme Court, which has never ruled on the 14th amendment clause.