Trump’s Candidacy Blocked in Maine: A Constitutional Controversy

Former President Donald Trump has been ruled ineligible to participate in Maine’s primary ballot for the 2024 election.

Shenna Bellows, Maine’s Secretary of State, made the announcement on Thursday, stating that Trump’s primary petition was “invalid” due to his alleged violation of the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. This decision is based on actions leading up to the U.S. Capitol breach on January 6, 2021.

Bellows, a Democrat, has also turned down an appeal from Trump’s legal team requesting her to step aside from making a judgement on his eligibility amid numerous challenges to his candidacy. It’s worth noting that similar 14th Amendment cases have been either dismissed or are still ongoing in other states, including Michigan.

Interestingly, a lawsuit in Colorado had previously resulted in the state’s supreme court disqualifying Trump from the primary ballot. However, following an appeal by the state’s Republican Party to the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump has been temporarily reinstated on Colorado’s 2024 primary ballot.

As it stands, the U.S. Supreme Court’s response remains unclear. The majority of the challenges against Trump rely on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This section is generally interpreted as a measure to prevent former officials who joined the Confederacy from returning to public office after the Civil War.

The former president and his allies have been actively contesting the multitude of lawsuits. The Colorado GOP’s filing to the U.S. Supreme Court this week argued that the state has unreasonably restricted the Party’s ability to select its candidates, thereby interfering with the Party’s ability to nominate the candidate of its choice for the general election ballot.

Trump’s legal team had earlier requested Bellows to recuse herself, citing potential bias due to her social media posts against the former president. However, in her ruling, Bellows rejected the recusal request as “untimely” and maintained that her political affiliation or personal views about the events of January 6, 2021, did not influence her decision.

Bellows has allowed a five-day period for any objections to be raised against her ruling. The GOP primary in Maine is scheduled for March 5. Trump’s campaign spokesman Steven Cheung has stated that they will promptly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this decision in Maine from taking effect. He further added that President Trump will never stop fighting to Make America Great Again.