Wyoming Attorney Withdraws Lawsuit To Keep Trump Off Ballot

A retired Laramie attorney who unsuccessfully tried to keep Donald Trump off future Wyoming election ballots has given up the push in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states can’t disqualify federal office-holders.

Clair McFarland

March 21, 20244 min read

Former President Donald Trump.
Former President Donald Trump. (Getty Images)

Following a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision that only Congress, not states, can disqualify federal candidates from holding office, a retired Laramie attorney who sued to get Donald Trump off the Wyoming ballot says he is withdrawing his case.

Tim Newcomb sued Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray last November by asking Albany County District Court Judge Misha Westby to block Gray from including former president Donald Trump on future election ballots.

When Westby dismissed the case because Trump was not yet on any state ballots, Newcomb appealed to the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Newcomb told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that he sent a request to the state's high court to have his own case dismissed. The request comes about two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court authored a 9-0 judgment saying states can’t enforce the Constitution’s disqualification clause against federal office-holders. 

Newcomb declined to give additional comment.

Lummis, Too

When he first filed his case, Newcomb had alleged that Trump gave comfort to the nation’s enemies, which was a different claim than the various other anti-Trump lawsuits across the nation, claiming Trump should be disqualified as an insurrectionist.

Newcomb also asked Westby to ban U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming, from any future ballots in the state. He alleged she violated her oath of office.

Either way, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision this month addresses the claims from both Wyoming's and other states’ cases, saying Congress — not the states —shall enforce Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That section contains a full list of disqualifying misdeeds. 

“All nine Justices agree on the outcome of this case,” wrote Justice Amy Barrett in a two-paragraph concurring opinion. “That is the message Americans should take home.”

The majority opinion says that if Colorado had won the case of Trump v. Anderson, and states could apply differing disqualification laws to presidential candidates, it would cause chaos.

A Lukewarm Concurrence

Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Kentanji Jackson wrote their own concurring opinion, saying the five-justice majority took the question too far and decided “novel constitutional questions to insulate this Court and (Trump) from future controversy.”

Rather than just ruling that states can only disqualify state, not federal, office-holders the majority also announced what kind of legislation Congress would need to enact to disqualify federal office-holders.

This “shuts the door on other potential means of federal enforcement,” wrote the three justices. “We cannot join an opinion that decides momentous and difficult issues unnecessarily, and therefore concur only in the judgment.”

Lot Of Trumping

Gray was outspoken about Newcomb’s case throughout, vowing to defend voters’ rights and back Trump.

He cut a selfie video in February in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., just before the oral argument in Trump v. Anderson. He said his office was working to keep “President Trump on the ballot, pushing back on (what) this media and the radical left is doing.”

Cowboy State Daily asked how the Secretary of State came to be in Washington, D.C. at that time. He said he was there incidentally as part of a national conferences of state secretaries.

Gray said in a Thursday text he’s been working hard to keep Trump on the ballot. He filed an amicus brief in Trump v. Anderson.

“Mr. Newcomb's filing was outrageously wrong,” Gray continued. “Our win in this case marks vindication for the truth and for liberty. As Secretary of State, I will continue to fight to ensure the people of Wyoming can choose who (sic) to elect for themselves.”

Clair McFarland can be reached at clair@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter