Maine’s Democrat secretary of state on Thursday removed former President Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, known as the Constitution’s insurrection clause. The Civil War-era provision bars those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.
The unilateral move makes Secretary of State Shenna Bellows the first election official to disqualify Trump before the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether he is eligible to continue his campaign, according to the Associated Press.
The decision follows the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this month to boot Trump from the ballot there under the insurrection clause. However, the Colorado Republican Party filed an appeal to put a stay on the ruling on Wednesday, and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold announced on Thursday that Trump will remain on the ballot unless the Supreme Court affirms the lower court’s ruling or declines to take on the appeal. The Colorado ballot goes to print on January 5, 2024.
The Maine ruling came after “some state residents, including a bipartisan group of former lawmakers, challenged Trump’s position on the ballot,” the AP reported.
“I do not reach this conclusion lightly,” Bellows wrote in her 34-page decision. “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.”
Team Trump lashed out at Bellows in a statement Thursday, calling her a “virulent leftist and a hyper-partisan” Biden supporter. The campaign vowed to appeal her decision in Maine’s state courts.
“The Maine Secretary of State is a former ACLU attorney, a virulent leftist and a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat who has decided to interfere in the presidential election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden,” said Trump Campaign Spokesman Steven Cheung.
We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter. 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. Make no mistake, these partisan election interference efforts are a hostile assault on American democracy. Biden and the Democrats simply do not trust the American voter in a free and fair election and are now relying on the force of government institutions to protect their grip on power.
State courts in Michigan and Minnesota have rejected these bad-faith, bogus 14th Amendment ballot challenges, as have federal courts in New Hampshire, Arizona, Florida, Rhode Island, West Virginia, along with ten other federal jurisdictions.
We know both the Constitution and the American people are on our side in this fight. President Trump’s dominating campaign has a commanding lead in the polls that has dramatically expanded as Crooked Joe Biden’s presidency continues to fail.
We will quickly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this atrocious decision in Maine from taking effect, and President Trump will never stop fighting to Make America Great Again.
Maine’s House Republican leader, Billy Bob Faulkingham, also slammed the ruling.
“This is a sham decision that mimics Third World dictatorships,” Faulkingham said in a statement. “It will not stand legal scrutiny. People have a right to choose their leaders devoid of mindless decisions by partisan hacks.”
Bellows acknowledged in her ruling that the U.S. Supreme Court will likely have the final word but said it was important she did her official duty.
She has suspended her decision until the court system rules on the case, according to the AP.
In reaction to the Maine ruling Thursday night, Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy repeated his pledge to withdraw his candidacy from any state that removes Trump from its primary ballot and urged the other GOP candidates to do the same.
“This is not how we should want to win,” he told former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Fox News.
“I will voluntarily as a Republican candidate remove myself from any GOP primary ballot where one of my competitors—Donald Trump included—is forcibly removed through this unconstitutional maneuver,” Ramaswamy declared.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reacted to the Maine ruling later Thursday night on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle.
“The idea that one bureaucrat in an executive position can simply unilaterally disqualify someone from office, that turns on its head every notion of constitutional due process that this country has always abided by for over 200 years,” DeSantis told fill-in host Jason Chaffetz.
It opens up Pandora’s Box. Can you have a Republican Secretary of State disqualify Biden from the ballot because he’s led in 8 million people illegally in a massive invasion, including from enemies of our country? Places like Iran, China, and the Middle East have poured in with his knowledge and assent basically. So it really opens up Pandora’s box. I don’t think that this ultimately will be legally sustained by the US Supreme Court. But I do think that this is going to be a constant throughout the election year where there’s going to be different parts of these legal cases that are going to be front and center. I think that we win when we hold Biden accountable and talk about the issues that matter to the American people. So I think the Democrats, they want the election to be about all these other issues, they do not want to face accountability for their failed policies.
👀DESANTIS reacts to Maine removing Trump from the ballot:
"It opens up Pandora's Box. Can you have a Republican Secretary of State disqualify Biden from the ballot? Because he's let in 8 million people illegally, a massive invasion."
"We win when we hold Biden accountable and… pic.twitter.com/TT0NSaMKro
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) December 29, 2023