Maine Becomes The Second State To Ban Donald Trump From 2024 Presidential Race

Maine’s Democratic Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows, made a historic decision on Thursday, removing former President Donald Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot. Bellows cited the Constitution’s insurrection clause, marking the first time an election official has unilaterally taken action on this ground. This move comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to decide whether Trump remains eligible to continue his campaign.

The decision follows a similar ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court in December, which also invoked Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to bar Trump from the ballot. The Colorado decision has been temporarily stayed pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s determination on whether the Civil War-era provision, which prohibits those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office, applies to Trump.

Bellows, in a 34-page decision, asserted that Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol violated Section 3, stating, “I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.”

The Trump campaign expressed immediate dissatisfaction with Bellows’ decision, with campaign spokesman Steven Cheung stating, “We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter.”

While Maine only has four electoral votes, its unique system of splitting them makes it a crucial state. Trump won one of Maine’s electors in 2020, and being off the ballot there could have significant implications should he emerge as the Republican general election candidate.

Bellows acknowledged that the Supreme Court is likely to have the final say but emphasized the importance of fulfilling her official duty. This decision earned her praise from a bipartisan group of former lawmakers who challenged Trump’s position on the ballot.

In a joint statement, Republican Kimberly Rosen, independent Thomas Saviello, and Democrat Ethan Strimling said, “Secretary Bellows showed great courage in her ruling, and we look forward to helping her defend her judicious and correct decision in court. No elected official is above the law or our constitution, and today’s ruling reaffirms this most important of American principles.”

This marks the second state, after Colorado, to declare Trump ineligible to serve as president under the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. The decision in Maine is expected to be appealed through the state judiciary, adding another layer to the legal battle.

Trump’s legal team has consistently argued against claims of insurrection, asserting that his remarks on the day of the 2021 riot were protected by the right to free speech. They have also raised procedural arguments, including the absence of Section 3 eligibility in the required paperwork filed by Trump to be on the ballot in Maine.

As the Trump campaign plans to appeal Bellows’ decision in Maine’s state court system, the nation’s highest court is likely to play a decisive role in determining whether Trump appears on the ballot not just in Maine but in other states as well. With the legal landscape evolving, this unprecedented situation underscores the need for the Supreme Court to provide clarity on the application of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to presidential candidates.

Information for this briefing was found via AP News, Politico, Reuters, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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