Election Law

Write-in candidate with 2 law degrees sues to keep Trump off the ballot; different challenge tossed

  • Print

14th Amendment

A Texas-based law grad has filed lawsuits in Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Florida contending that former President Donald Trump is barred from running for president in 2024 under the 14th Amendment. Image from Shutterstock.

A law grad with a campaign website and a plan to launch a write-in presidential candidacy has filed several lawsuits contending that former President Donald Trump is barred from running under the 14th Amendment.

John Anthony Castro, a Texas-based law grad, has filed suits in Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Florida, report Courthouse News Service and WMUR.

In a social media post on X, formerly known as Twitter, he posted civil cover sheets for suits in eight additional states, Newsweek reports.

The Wisconsin suit, posted by Courthouse News Service, says Trump provided “aid and comfort” to an insurrection—the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack—in violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. As a result, he should be barred from the ballot, the suit says.

Castro says he has standing because of his status as a write-in candidate in the Republican primary.

Section 3 bars people who have taken an oath to support the U.S. Constitution from holding office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution or have “given aid to the enemies” of the United States.

Castro filed the suit pro se. He has a law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a master of laws in international taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center, according to his website for Castro & Co. But he is not currently a practicing attorney, according to Courthouse News Service.

Castro told Courthouse News Service that U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon of the Southern District of Florida dismissed his Florida suit on the ground that he lacked standing. The appeal is pending before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Atlanta.

He has also filed a petition for cert before judgment with the U.S. Supreme Court that seeks a ruling on the standing issue.

Standing problems also led to the dismissal of a different 14th Amendment suit filed by Boynton Beach, Florida, lawyer Lawrence Caplan and two other plaintiffs, Law360 reports.

U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg of the Southern District of Florida said in an Aug. 31 decision an individual citizen does not have standing to challenge whether another person is qualified to be in public office.

Caplan told Law360 that he doesn’t plan to appeal.

Rosenberg is an appointee of former President Barack Obama, while Cannon is an appointee of former President Donald Trump.

Updated Sept. 5 at 1:35 p.m. to state that John Anthony Castro is a law graduate and to add prior ABA Journal coverage.

See also:

“Judge tosses Georgetown law grad’s suit over school job fair ban”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.