Trump off the ballot in Maine

Maine secretary of state Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, has ruled that former president Donald Trump is disqualified from the 2024 ballot because his actions in the wake of the 2020 election violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which forbids individuals who have “engaged in insurrection” from seeking federal office.

Bellows’s decision comes in response to three legal challenges against Trump’s ballot eligibility in the state.

“The events of January 6, 2021 were unprecedented and tragic,” Bellows wrote in her 34-page decision. “They were an attack not only upon the Capitol and government officials, but also an attack on the rule of law. The evidence here demonstrates that they occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of, the outgoing President. The U.S. Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government, and [Maine law] requires me to act in response.”

The Trump campaign vowed to challenge the decision in a statement on Thursday.

“We know both the Constitution and the American people are on our side in this fight. President Trump’s dominating campaign has a commanding lead in the polls that has dramatically expanded as Crooked Joe Biden’s presidency continues to fail,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said.

“We will quickly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this atrocious decision in Maine from taking effect, and President Trump will never stop fighting to Make America Great Again,” he added.

One day earlier, Trump’s legal team had filed a request asking Bellows to recuse herself from the ruling.

“The Secretary is a completely biased Democrat partisan and a Biden supporter who is incapable of making a fair decision and allowing the people of Maine the right to vote for the candidate of their choosing,” Trump’s team said in a statement. “Any attempt to remove President Trump’s name from the ballot is blatant election interference.”

Trump’s lawyers said the secretary’s “personal animus and bias” is “so deep that she is rendered incapable of allowing a fair hearing of this pressing matter.”

Trump’s appearance on the ballot is facing lawsuits in at least 13 states, including Texas, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

Maine is the second state to disqualify Trump, after the Colorado supreme court barred Trump from its own ballot over a similar challenge. However, Trump is set to appear on the Colorado ballot while the state GOP appeals the court’s decision.

Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold said Thursday that, in light of the appeal, Trump will appear on the state’s ballot unless the U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the case or upholds the state supreme court’s ruling.

“The Colorado Supreme Court has removed the leading Republican candidate from the primary and general ballots, fundamentally changing the course of American democracy,” the Colorado GOP’s attorneys argued.

“Unless the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision is overturned, any voter will have the power to sue to disqualify any political candidate, in Colorado or in any other jurisdiction that follows its lead. This will not only distort the 2024 presidential election but will also mire courts henceforth in political controversies over nebulous accusations of insurrection,” the lawyers said. 

Meanwhile, the Minnesota supreme court dismissed one such case in November, holding that there “is no state statute that prohibits a major political party from placing on the presidential nomination ballot, or sending delegates to the national convention supporting, a candidate who is ineligible for office.” But the court’s ruling said that the body would not ban a challenge to Trump’s eligibility from appearing on the state’s general-election ballot.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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