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Judge tosses suit seeking to remove Donald Trump from ballot

 September 5, 2023

A federal judge in Florida has dismissed a lawsuit aiming to prevent Donald Trump from running for the presidency again.

Robin Rosenberg decided that the plaintiffs, Lawrence A. Caplan, Barry Butin, and Michael Strianese, lacked the legal standing to challenge the eligibility of the former president to seek re-election. This decision emerges amidst the backdrop of ongoing prosecutions related to unrest at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as reported by MSN.

Judge cites lack of legal standing

Judge Rosenberg, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, explained her decision by asserting that the injuries claimed by the plaintiffs were neither specific to them nor recognizable in legal terms.

The trio believed that if Trump were allowed to run and subsequently win, he could potentially be disqualified or removed from office due to his supposed involvement in the Capitol events.

Judge Rosenberg stated:

An individual citizen does not have standing to challenge whether another individual is qualified to hold public office.

Plaintiffs' political affiliations highlighted

The plaintiffs' political orientations were highlighted in the proceedings.

Lawrence A. Caplan, a tax attorney, has been a consistent donor to the Democratic Party.

Barry Butin's affiliations with the Democratic Party were evident from his Facebook profile, and Michael Strianese is recognized as an animal-rights activist from Nevada.

Previous rulings set precedent

This isn't the first time that similar challenges have been presented in court.

Rosenberg drew parallels to the 2008 controversy surrounding Obama's birthplace, in which plaintiffs who filed suit concerning the matter were dismissed due to lack of standing.

Another similar case was brought against the late Sen. John McCain, questioning his eligibility based on his birth in the Panama Canal Zone.

The court at the time declared that voters couldn't challenge a candidate's eligibility to participate in an election.

In Rosenberg's words:

Further, at least two courts have concluded that citizens attempting to disqualify individuals from participating in elections or from holding office based on the January 6, 2021, events at the United States Capitol lacked standing. Plaintiffs in this case similarly lack standing and, thus, this Court lacks jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court exercises its discretion under the Declaratory Judgment Act, along with its obligation to examine its own jurisdiction, to dismiss this case.

Other avenues to challenge Trump's eligibility

While this Florida suit was rejected, it does not end the debate on Trump's eligibility for public office.

MSNBC blogger Jordan Rubin posited that other GOP primary contenders could legally challenge Trump's appearance on the ballot.

Rubin's colleague, Hayes Brown, suggested that GOP candidates Chris Christie and Asa Hutchinson might consider filing such a lawsuit.

Anti-Trump campaign receives notable funding

A group named Free Speech for People has been actively seeking to prevent Trump from appearing on the ballot in multiple states.

This group is notably backed by significant funds from the Silicon Valley Foundation, which receives contributions from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech billionaires.

Additionally, they have received support from the Tides Foundation, backed by billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundations.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, in a conversation with MSNBC, mentioned discussions with other state election officials regarding Trump's position on the ballot.

She emphasized that any decisions made would be legally grounded rather than politically driven.


  • A federal judge in Florida has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Trump's presidential candidacy.
  • The judge ruled the plaintiffs lacked the legal standing for such a challenge.
  • The plaintiffs' political affiliations played a role in the discussions.
  • Previous court rulings have set a precedent for such decisions.
  • While this lawsuit was dismissed, other challenges to Trump's eligibility may still arise.
  • The campaign against Trump's candidacy receives significant financial backing from notable personalities and foundations.