The state of Maine became the second to remove former President Donald Trump from its primary ballot this week, following a decision by its secretary of state. The Maine decision follows a ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court last week which will likely set up a high-stakes case in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The decision by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) would disqualify the former president under a clause in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Bellows interpreted the portion disqualifying individuals who ‘engaged in insurrection’ from serving the federal government. She said that the Constitution “does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government.”
The secretary of state made the decision but suspended its implementation until it is reviewed by a state court.
She wrote that following several challenges to Trump’s eligibility, the former president’s “primary petition is invalid.”
“Specifically, I find that the declaration on his candidate consent form is false because he is not qualified to hold the office of the President under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Maine’s Secretary of State @shennabellows just removed Trump from the ballot.
Like Colorado, she also stayed the move pending a Supreme Court ruling.
Definitely not election interference from partisan hacks at all. pic.twitter.com/ZxxHnKsRGT
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 29, 2023
She cited a petition which alleged Trump “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States.”
“I do not reach this conclusion lightly,” wrote Bellows, “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 sharply criticized the decision, announcing that it would challenge it in court.
“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” said Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung.
The Maine and Colorado decisions are similar in their reasoning. In Colorado, a split court decision disqualified the former president with a similar 14th Amendment argument.
Furthermore, the Michigan Supreme Court decided on a similar case, rejecting the challenge to Trump’s candidacy.