Maine’s Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, has removed former President Donald Trump from the state’s Republican primary ballot based on the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban.”
This decision comes after a bipartisan group of former state lawmakers challenged Trump’s eligibility, citing his involvement in the January 6 Capitol attack.
Trump’s team plans to appeal the decision, and legal experts believe the issue may ultimately be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court. (Trending: Could Taylor Swift Save Biden In 2024?)
While some view Bellows’ decision as a necessary application of the Constitution, others, including Trump’s campaign, criticize it as an attempt to interfere in the election process.
“I do not reach this conclusion lightly,” Bellows wrote.
“Democracy is sacred … I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
“I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection.”
“The oath I swore to uphold the Constitution comes first above all, and my duty under Maine’s election laws … is to ensure that candidates who appear on the primary ballot are qualified for the office they seek,” she said.
“The record establishes that Mr. Trump, over the course of several months and culminating on January 6, 2021, used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol to prevent certification of the 2020 election and the peaceful transfer of power,” Bellows wrote.
“I likewise conclude that Mr. Trump was aware of the likelihood for violence and at least initially supported its use given he both encouraged it with incendiary rhetoric and took no timely action to stop it.”
“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” said Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung.
“I stand with President Trump against the Left’s blatant attack on our democracy,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn wrote.
“The Maine Secretary of State’s decision to remove Trump from the ballot is reckless and partisan. I am confident the Supreme Court will reverse it,” wrote House Speaker Mike Johnson.
“This should be decided by the voters of the United States. It should not be decided by courts. And the fact is, while there may be — people may think there’s a justification for doing this — it’s not good in our democracy,” he said.
“In the end, Donald Trump should be defeated by the voters at the polls and defeated by someone like me, who is willing to tell the truth about him. That’s the way we defeat him and we end the scourge of Donald Trump in our party and our country,” Chris Christie said.
“I think there’s a question there with regard to what Maine did, because if you look at the hearing, and she details this in the ruling, they heard from one fact witness, a law professor. She based her ruling on a lot of documents, but also YouTube clips, news reports, things that would never pass the bar in normal court,” CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said.
“She’s not a lawyer, by the way. It’s a smartly written decision, clearly consulted with lawyers, but this is an unelected– she’s chosen by the state legislature. Chosen, elected by the legislature, but not democratically elected.”
“I see this as a proud moment in our democracy,” CNN’s Norm Eisen said.
“This is how our checks and balances are supposed to work,” he said.
“As wrong as some people are saying… that its anti-democratic — it is never against American democracy to apply the United States Constitution.”
The debate over Trump’s eligibility is expected to continue, with implications for both the election and the interpretation of constitutional law.