Federal Judge Rejects Bid to Remove Trump From West Virginia Ballot

By Published on December 22, 2023

A federal judge rejected a bid Thursday to remove former President Donald Trump from the ballot in West Virginia.

Obama-appointed district judge Irene Berger ruled that John Anthony Castro, the little-known presidential candidate who brought the lawsuit to remove Trump, lacked standing to sue. The decision comes days after Colorado’s Supreme Court found Trump was ineligible to appear on the state’s ballot under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, likely setting up Supreme Court review of the issue.

“The evidence establishes that [Castro] has no campaign offices, staff, or advertising in West Virginia, does not appear in polling, has little name recognition among West Virginia Republican primary voters, and has extremely minimal campaign funds, vastly insufficient to run an actual campaign,” Berger wrote. “If there were any question as to whether the allegations in the complaint are sufficient to overcome a facial challenge, the evidentiary submissions remove any doubt that Mr. Castro’s purported ‘campaign’ exists as a vehicle for pursuing litigation, not votes.”

Federal judges in Arizona and Rhode Island likewise found Castro lacked standing because he is not seriously running for office. The Supreme Court declined in October to hear the appeal of a case Castro brought in Florida.

“This is a big win for the integrity of our elections,” said Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in a statement, according to News and Sentinel. “This lawsuit was frivolous to begin with and without merit — it had no basis in either law or fact. Any eligible candidate has the right to be on the ballot unless legally disqualified, and we will defend the laws of West Virginia and the right of voters and candidates to the fullest.”

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The Colorado Supreme Court put its ruling against Trump on hold until Jan. 4. If Trump files an appeal before that date, the ruling will remain paused and the Secretary of State will be required to place his name on the ballot on the Jan. 5 certification deadline, as long as the justices do not intervene.

In Colorado, the lawsuit to remove Trump was brought by the left-wing donor backed group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

 

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