Maine Disqualifies Donald Trump from 2024 Primary Ballot Over Capitol Attack

Maine’s Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows, has disqualified former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 presidential ballot. The ruling is based on Section Three of the 14th Amendment, known as the insurrection clause, and is a response to Donald Trump’s alleged role in the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Donald Trump from 2024 Primary Ballot Over Capitol Attack

Also Read: Colorado Supreme Court Disqualifies Donald Trump From 2024 Ballot

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, announced her decision on December 29, 2023, citing the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against individuals who have engaged in insurrection from holding public office.

Bellows addressed the seriousness of the situation, stating that the Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of the government. The decision was made after a thorough review of evidence presented during a hearing on December 15.

The decision hinges on Section Three of the 14th Amendment, which states that individuals who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States are disqualified from holding public office.

This constitutional provision was ratified after the Civil War to prevent former confederates from serving in government positions.

While the text of Section Three is clear, its enforcement of insurrection have been subjects of legal debate.

In her decision, Bellows pointed to the nature of the case, acknowledging that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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However, she argued that the circumstances surrounding the Capitol attack were also unprecedented. Bellows tells that Donald Trump’s actions, including spreading false claims of election fraud and inciting his supporters, amounted to an insurrection.

The Donald Trump campaign expressed strong opposition to the decision, labeling it an atrocious attempt to interfere with the democratic process.

The campaign vowed to file a legal objection in state court to prevent the decision from taking effect. Donald Trump’s lawyers had previously sent a letter requesting Bellows to disqualify herself, citing alleged personal bias.

Her decision and suspended its effect until the Superior Court rules on any appeal or until the time to appeal expires.

This approach allows for a thorough legal review, considering the urgency of ballot preparation deadlines and the importance of the case. Maine’s Superior Court is expected to make a ruling within 20 days from the date of the decision.

Maine’s decision closely follows a similar ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court, making it the second state to disqualify Donald Trump from a ballot based on the insurrection clause.

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The Colorado decision is under appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, setting the stage for a nationwide resolution on Trump’s eligibility.

The legal battle interpretations of Section Three of the 14th Amendment. While Bellows and supporters argue that Trump’s role in the Capitol attack constitutes insurrection, Donald Trump’s legal team contends that his actions were protected by the right to free speech.

Over a dozen other states are considering similar challenges, each with its own legal intricacies. Courts in some states, like Michigan and Minnesota, have rejected such challenges on procedural grounds.

The decision has strong reactions from both political figures and the public. Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine criticized the ruling, asserting that Maine voters should decide the election outcome rather than a Secretary of State appointed by the Legislature.

Supporters of the decision argue that it upholds the integrity of the electoral process and addresses the nature of the Capitol attack.

The disqualification of Donald Trump from primary ballots questions about his eligibility for the 2024 presidential election.

While the ruling applies to the primary election, its implications could extend to the general election. Donald Trump, currently the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, holds a position in national polls, and any legal challenges to his candidacy has consequences.

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