In a move that has drawn criticism from both sides of the aisle, Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has declared former President Donald Trump ineligible for the state’s presidential ballot, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This section disqualifies individuals from holding office if they have supported or engaged in insurrection or rebellion.
Bellows’ decision mirrors a recent move by the Colorado Supreme Court, temporarily removing Trump from their ballot pending an appeal. Despite challenges in other states rejecting similar claims, the Trump campaign vows to appeal the Maine ruling, anticipating the matter to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Republican lawmakers, echoing sentiments expressed after the Colorado ruling, have swiftly criticized the Maine decision as undemocratic. Senator Susan Collins emphasized that Maine voters, not a Secretary of State appointed by the Legislature, should determine election outcomes. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming labeled both the Maine and Colorado rulings as “absurd and abusive attempts” to silence Americans.
Senator Thom Tillis condemned Bellows’ ruling as an “egregious abuse of power” and pledged to introduce legislation preventing partisan officials from deciding constitutional challenges. Calls to overturn the decisions have come from various Republicans, including Barrasso and Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who urged bipartisan condemnation of what he termed an “unAmerican stunt.”
While some Democrats, like Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, assert that Trump’s incitement of the Capitol riot warrants his permanent exclusion from public office, others within the party, such as Representative Jared Golden of Maine, advocate for upholding legal principles. Golden, who voted to impeach Trump, emphasized the importance of waiting until guilt is proven before barring him from the ballot.
Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson criticized the unilateral decisions by secretaries of state, questioning the democratic nature of such exclusions. She highlighted the exclusion of candidates like herself and Representative Dean Phillips from ballots, seemingly orchestrated by Secretaries of State aligned with the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
As Trump faces four criminal trials, including charges related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the controversy surrounding his eligibility for the presidential ballot is set to escalate, with the U.S. Supreme Court anticipated to play a pivotal role in the resolution.