Tracking Section 3 Trump Disqualification Challenges

On Feb. 8, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Trump v. Anderson, former president Donald Trump's appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court's historic Dec. 19, 2023 ruling that Trump is disqualified from holding the office of the presidency and, therefore, that his name may not appear on the state’s primary ballot. Find here Lawfare's analysis on the argument and how the Court might rule.

Almost immediately after Jan. 6, 2021, legal commentators began debating whether Section 3 of the 14th Amendment would disqualify former President Donald Trump from running in the 2024 presidential election. They debated whether or not Section 3 applies to a former president, whether it is self-executing, and whether Jan. 6 could be considered an insurrection or rebellion. 

Since then, the issue has become less abstract, though no less contentious. In February 2021, the U.S. Senate acquitted Trump of an impeachment article for inciting insurrection, but with a bipartisan majority of the Senate voting to convict. Section 3 challenges have been mounted against several legislators, and one state-level county commissioner who participated in the attack was successfully ousted from his post under that provision. At the end of 2022, the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol made the argument that Trump did inspire an insurrection, referring him to the Justice Department for prosecution under multiple criminal statutes, including one prohibiting insurrection. The Special Counsel’s Office has since brought a criminal case in Washington, D.C. charging Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack. And some prominent legal conservatives have made the case for a strong, originalist reading of Section 3 that they argue would apply to Trump, immediately disqualifying him from office.

Beginning in winter 2023, voters and advocacy groups have brought Section 3 challenges in courts across the country, attempting to block Trump’s name from appearing on ballots for state primaries and caucuses before the general election begins. The nature and status of the challenges vary greatly state-by-state. In some states, disqualification challenges are being brought to election commissions and offices of secretaries of state, pursuant to state law, with appeals to state courts. In other states, cases are being filed directly in the court system. There are also challenges being brought in the federal courts. In two states, so far—Maine and, as noted, Colorado—Trump has been found to be ineligible to be on the ballot, though those decisions are currently being appealed

This page tracks which states have active Section 3 litigation or administrative proceedings to remove Trump from the 2024 ballot. At the bottom is a selected reading of Lawfare's coverage on the issue. Note that the procedural posture and legal theories behind these challenges vary greatly, and a dismissal in any particular action does not necessarily bar other challenges from being brought in that same state, nor do current dismissals necessarily preclude new challenges from being brought before the general election begins. For instance, in Michigan and Minnesota, courts have ruled that Trump is allowed to appear on primary ballots but left open the possibility of renewed challenges to his eligibility for the general election.

This project was created by Hyemin Han with Caleb Benjamin on Oct. 30, 2023. It is regularly updated and edited by Han, Anna BowerMatt GluckTyler McBrien, and Roger Parloff. It was last updated on Feb. 14, 2024.


Section 3 at the U.S. Supreme Court


On Jan. 5, 2024, the Supreme Court granted former President Donald Trump's petition for it to review the Colorado Supreme Court's decision removing him from the state's primary ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Trump and the Colorado Republican Party filed petitions for writ of certiorari on Jan. 3, 2024 and Dec. 27, 2023, respectively. Oral argument in Trump v. Anderson is scheduled for Feb. 8.

You can follow the docket on the U.S. Supreme Court's websiteLawfare is tracking the docket on the right.

Anderson et al. v. Griswold et al. was originally filed on Sept. 9, 2023 by six Colorado voters against Jena Griswold, in her official capacity as Colorado Secretary of State, and Donald J. Trump. On Nov. 17, in Denver District Court, Judge Sarah B. Wallace dismissed the petitioners suit, but determined that Trump engaged in insurrection. On Dec. 19, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled on appeal that former President Donald Trump is disqualified from being President under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

The Docket


Other Cases We're Watching

  • Maine— On Dec. 28, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows ruled pursuant to state election laws—in response to three administrative challenges—that Trump is disqualified from the ballot, making Maine the second state to disqualify the former president under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The decision is automatically stayed pending Trump's appeal to Maine Superior Court. Click on Trump v. Bellows under the state of Maine for more information.
  • Minnesota—Growe et al v. Simon was filed on Sept. 12, 2023 by eight Minnesota voters against Steve Simon, in his official capacity as Minnesota Secretary of State. On Nov. 8, the Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed the petition, but added that the plaintiffs could bring a new petition regarding the general election ballot following the upcoming Republican primaries. Follow the docket here.
  • Michigan—LaBrant et al v. Benson was filed on Sept. 29, 2023 by four Michigan voters against Jocelyn Benson, in her official capacity as Michigan Secretary of State. On Nov. 14, Judge James Redford of the Michigan Court of Claims dismissed the petition. Michigan voters appealed, and the State of Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the Court of Claims' decision on Dec. 14. On Dec. 27, the Michigan Supreme Court denied review of the court of appeals ruling. Accordingly, Trump may appear on the primary ballot. (The court of appeals ruling does not preclude a renewed challenge to Trump's appearance on the general election ballot, should he become the party's nominee.)
  • Oregon—Nelson et al v. Griffin-Valade was filed on Dec. 6, 2023 by five Oregon voters and state electors against Lavonne Griffin-Valade, in her official capacity as Oregon Secretary of State. The suit was filed in the Oregon Supreme Court. The petitioners are posting some of the case documents here

Lawfare Content on Section 3