June 22, 2024

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Maine bars Trump from the 2024 ballot, citing an insurrectionist ban

In a significant move, Shenna Bellows, Maine’s Secretary of State, has opted to exclude former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot, invoking the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban.” This decision comes in the wake of a similar action taken by the Colorado Supreme Court earlier this month, making Maine the second state to disqualify Trump from a potential candidacy.

The challenge against Trump’s eligibility for office was instigated by a bipartisan group of former state lawmakers, leading to an administrative hearing. In her decision, Bellows, a Democrat, acknowledged the unprecedented nature of depriving a presidential candidate of ballot access based on the 14th Amendment. She emphasised the sanctity of democracy in her statement, noting, “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.”

While Trump’s legal team is expected to contest the decision, it can be appealed in state court, with projections indicating a potential escalation to the U.S. Supreme Court. This sequence of events follows Colorado’s earlier ruling and is seen as a victory for those advocating accountability against Trump.

Trump, who maintains his innocence regarding the events of January 6, 2021, and dismisses legal challenges as baseless, faces increasing opposition from critics pushing for the enforcement of constitutional provisions designed to counter anti-democratic insurrectionists.

The Maine decision aligns with the momentum gained by Trump’s opponents after the Colorado ruling. While some states, including Michigan and Minnesota, rejected similar efforts before Colorado, consecutive decisions in Colorado and Maine mark a substantial victory for those seeking accountability.

The 14th Amendment, ratified post-Civil War, specifies that officials engaged in insurrection cannot hold future office. However, the enforcement mechanism lacks clarity, fostering ongoing legal interpretation and debate.