Another lawsuit is challenging the eligibility of former President Donald Trump to be on the ballot in New York's Republican presidential primary.
Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, of Manhattan, filed a petition with the state Supreme Court in Albany County late Tuesday night. This comes after Republican commissioners at the state Board of Elections on Tuesday approved Trump and three other candidates to be on the ballot. The New York presidential primary is scheduled for April 2.
Commissioners acknowledged they received significant correspondence objecting to Trump's eligibility but said none of it constituted as an official objection which requires specific and timely steps after a candidate files for certification. Hoylman-Sigal was among five state senators who co-signed a letter in December asking the board to exclude Trump because of his engagement in the "violent January 6 insurrection."
Hoylman-Sigal's office said he did ask the board to reverse its decision before going to the courts. The lawsuit, which names Trump and the BOE as respondents, claims he is ineligible based on the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
"Trump and his supporters not only attacked our nation's Capitol, they attacked our most basic Democratic principle, the peaceful transition of power after an election," he said during an interview with Spectrum News 1.
According to the amendment, no person who previously engaged in insurrection may serve as president. The suit claims Trump "engaged" on Jan. 6 through his personal actions including "summoning a crowd to come to Washington D.C."
"In other words, we're joining the efforts of citizens in Colorado and Maine to object to Donald Trump's candidacy on the basis of his disqualification as a result of the insurrection he incited against the United States Capitol," Hoylman-Sigal said.
The petition makes reference to the Colorado Supreme Court decision which held that Trump is disqualified from holding the office of president. Starting Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider his eligibility to hold the office.
University at Buffalo constitutional law expert Shawn Donahue said its outcome will likely impact cases across the country, including New York.
"What the United States Supreme Court is likely to do is give us some type of uniform rule, potentially across the country," Donahue said.
He said how quickly the Supreme Court rules may also impact the New York case. Colorado's primary is taking place on Super Tuesday, March 5.
"It'll be interesting to see, as far as scheduling for this case, if the trial court decides that they want to maybe wait until, see what the Supreme Court has to say before they start going for a hearing," Donahue said.
Hoylman-Sigal siad it was necessary to move forward immediately because New York's April 2 primary is approaching quickly. The state Board of Elections would only confirm receipt of the general objection from the state senator.
State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt tweeted in response to the lawsuit, "Wild accusations on social media are not sound legal findings. The NYS Board of Elections made the right decision to keep President Trump on the ballot. Democrats continued assault on democracy is alarming. Why are NY Dems so afraid to let voters decide elections?"
Donahue said despite three Trump appointees on the conservative-leaning Supreme Court, justices have not always ruled in favor of the former president's interest. He believes Chief Justice John Roberts may favor a narrower ruling that could keep Trump on ballots but garner more consensus from the entire court.