"Since Secretary of State Griffin-Valade has announced that Trump will be on the primary ballot unless a court orders otherwise, we are seeking a court order."
In response to Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade's announcement that she won't remove former U.S. President Donald Trump from the ballot for the Republican Party primary without a court order, voters on Wednesday filed a lawsuit seeking one.
This case and others like it across the country are based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who has taken an oath to the U.S. Constitution and then "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" from holding any civil or military office.
"Donald Trump violated his oath of office and incited a violent insurrection that attacked the U.S. Capitol, threatened the assassination of the vice president and congressional leaders, and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation's history," Free Speech for People (FSFP) legal director Ron Fein said in a statement.
"Our predecessors understood that oath-breaking insurrectionists will do it again, and worse, if allowed back into power, so they enacted the insurrectionist disqualification clause to protect the republic from people like Trump," he continued. "Trump is legally barred from the ballot and election officials must follow this constitutional mandate."
"All Oregon voters, including the plaintiffs, have a well-established right to have only eligible candidates on the ballot."
FSFP—which represents the Oregon voters and has filed similar legal challenges in Michigan and Minnesota—had sent a letter last month requesting that Griffin-Valade "issue a temporary rule (and subsequent declaratory ruling) that Mr. Trump is constitutionally ineligible to appear on any Oregon future ballot for nomination of election to federal office."
In a statement about denying that request last week, the secretary's office noted that her decision relies on legal advice from the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ), it only applies to the primary, and she "received significant voter contact" on the topic.
"Oregon law does not give me the authority to determine the qualifications of candidates in a presidential primary," Griffin-Valade said. "I will follow our usual process and expect to put Donald Trump on the primary ballot unless a court directs me otherwise."
"I understand that people want to skip to the end of this story. But right now, we don't even know who the nominee will be," she added. "When the general election comes, we'll follow the law and be completely transparent with our reasoning."
Along with FSFP, the Oregon voters behind the new filing are represented by local attorneys Jason Kafoury and Daniel Meek.
"The United States Constitution makes Donald Trump ineligible to run for or serve in any public office in the country, let alone president," Kafoury argued Wednesday. "All Oregon voters, including the plaintiffs, have a well-established right to have only eligible candidates on the ballot. Since Secretary of State Griffin-Valade has announced that Trump will be on the primary ballot unless a court orders otherwise, we are seeking a court order preventing Trump from being on the ballot."
Griffin-Valade spokesperson Laura Kerns said in an email to the Oregon Capital Chronicle on Wednesday that "the secretary believes that she made the right decision to rely on the advice of DOJ regarding the presidential primary election."
The lawsuit came on the same day as oral arguments before the Colorado Supreme Court in a Trump disqualification case initially brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and firms representing state voters in September.
It also came a day after Trump—the GOP's 2024 front-runner, despite his ongoing criminal cases—said during a televised Fox News town hall that he would be a dictator on "day one," adding that "I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill."