Maine, a reliably blue state, has garnered much attention after the Maine Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows, removed Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot. A heated debate ensues on the matter and awaits a potential appeal in the court from Trump’s team.
The secretary of state made her decision on Thursday, following an administrative hearing held earlier in December concerning Trump’s eligibility to hold office. A bipartisan team of former state lawmakers registered the challenge against Trump. However, her decision is currently on hold, awaiting Maine’s Superior Court’s ruling.
A Victory for Trump’s Critics?
Maine’s position has garnered much attention from Trump’s critics, who believe that this is a step in the right direction. In light of the attack on the US Capitol in January 2021, critics find this decision to be a rightful enforcement of a constitutional provision protecting the nation from anti-democratic insurgency.
Following the same reasoning, Bellows found evidence to be compelling, suggesting that the January 6 insurrection “occurred at the behest of” Trump. She further wrote that the Constitution has no room for “an assault on the foundations of our government.”
The 14th Amendment
Shenna Bellows’s decision was based on the insurrectionist ban, as laid out in the 14th Amendment. Following the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was ratified, preventing any American officials who “engage in” insurrection from holding office. However, it is noteworthy that this provision is ambivalent and does not explicitly state how a ban of such nature should be enforced.
In a live interview with CNN, Bellows shares that she did not reach this conclusion lightly. “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,” she adds.
Maine Takes the Baton
Shenna Bellows, a prominent Democrat, has followed Colorado’s footsteps, making the Pine Tree State the second state to disqualify Trump from the ballot. For Trump’s critics, this decision only enhances the momentum the Colorado ruling built earlier in December. Nonetheless, the Colorado Supreme Court ruling has also been paused till the appeals come in.
California’s secretary of state shared the list of eligible candidates on Thursday, including Trump. However, Democratic officials are asking for this decision to be reconsidered and the former president’s name removed. Following Maine, it is expected that other states will follow suit.
On the whole, legal experts are relying on the US Supreme Court to make a ruling and settle the matter for the country. While a possible reversal may be expected, Bellows believes it “does not relieve me of my responsibility to act” and “ensure that candidates who appear on the primary ballot are qualified for the office they seek.”
Bellows Faces Criticism
In light of her decision, Bellows is currently facing intense criticism and has been targeted in swatting in her home. Steven Cheung, Trump’s campaign spokesman, calls Bellows a “virulent leftist” who “decided to interfere in the presidential election.”
In his statement on Thursday, Cheung underscored the unconstitutional nature of this ban, saying, “Democrats in blue states are recklessly and un-constitutionally suspending the civil rights of the American voters by attempting to summarily remove President Trump’s name from the ballot.”