A federal judge has thrown out a widely reported lawsuit that sought to block former President Donald Trump from appearing on 2024 presidential ballots in Florida.
Judge Robin L. Rosenberg, an appointee of Democrat President Barack Obama, dismissed the case (pdf) against the Republican frontrunner on Aug. 31, a week after a Florida tax attorney, Lawrence Caplan, filed it. He claimed that President Trump should be disqualified based on a constitutional provision.
However, the judge stated that she lacks jurisdiction over this type of case. She also said that the parties who filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida “lack standing to challenge [President Trump’s] qualifications for seeking the Presidency.”
“To have standing, a plaintiff must show he has a ‘personal stake’ in the alleged dispute and that the injury is ‘particularized’ to him,” Judge Rosenberg said.
The judge also declared: “An individual citizen does not have standing to challenge whether another individual is qualified to hold public office.” She shot down arguments from Mr. Caplan, a second Florida resident, and a third plaintiff who lives in Nevada.
The judge said she was legally obligated to decide the jurisdiction issue, even without a challenge from President Trump’s lawyer or anyone else. She also said a federal law, the Declaratory Judgment Act, empowers her to do so.
Mr. Caplan did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ attempts to reach him for comment; Trump legal spokeswoman Alina Habba also could not be reached.
Judge Rosenberg’s ruling was made “without prejudice,” meaning she left the door open for the case to be refiled.
Still, the dismissal is significant because it comes at a time when other U.S. states are weighing whether to disqualify President Trump’s candidacy based on a disputed legal theory involving the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Under that amendment, a person who was involved in an insurrection or rebellion may be barred from holding office. Legal scholars are divided on whether this provision is applicable to President Trump, who stands accused of various offenses. Some of the charges are related to an election dispute protest that turned violent at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Notably, Judge Rosenberg said: “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.”
Citing one of those cases, Hill v. Mastriano, “the appropriate process for testing title to public office” is a writ of quo warranto, the judge ruled. She noted that only the government or its representative is empowered to file that type of action.
From The Epoch Times