On January 12, the Oregon Supreme Court issued a temporary ruling in State ex rel Nelson v. Griffin-Valade, a challenge to Donald Trump’s candidacy under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court said:

After [plaintiffs] filed their petition, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Donald J. Trump v. Norma Anderson, et al. (No. 23-719), to review a decision by the Colorado Supreme Court that ruled on arguments made under the Fourteenth Amendment that are identical to some arguments advanced in this case by [plaintiffs]. The United States Supreme Court has set an expedited briefing and argument schedule in that case, with oral argument scheduled for February 8, 2024.

A decision by the United States Supreme Court regarding the Fourteenth Amendment issue may resolve one or more contentions that [plaintiffs] make in this proceeding. Given that possibility, we deny [plaintiffs’] petition for a writ of mandamus at this time, without prejudice to [plaintiffs’] ability to file a new petition seeking resolution of any issue that may remain following a decision by the United States Supreme Court.

The Oregon Supreme Court’s decision not to decide is disappointing. While it is certainly possible that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. Anderson may resolve some or all of the issues in this case, it is also entirely possible that the U.S. Supreme Court may resolve that case based on particular details of the Colorado proceeding or that it may issue an order that does not resolve this case. Furthermore, no one knows when that decision will issue. Waiting until the U.S. Supreme Court issues its order only compresses the time that the Oregon Supreme Court may have to resolve the issues that may remain if the U.S. Supreme Court does not fully resolve all the issues in this case.

Importantly, the Oregon Supreme Court did not rule against the plaintiffs on any of the merits: it did not say that January 6 was not an “insurrection”; it did not say that Trump did not “engage” in it; it did not say that Section 3 doesn’t apply to him; it did not say that Congress must pass a law to enforce Section 3; and it did not say that Oregon cannot enforce Section 3 on its own, including for presidential candidates. It simply said that it wishes to wait until the U.S. Supreme Court decides a related case.

Free Speech For People currently represents voters challenging Trump under Section 3 in Illinois and Massachusetts. Those states are required to decide by the end of January.

Read the Order here.