Maine secretary of state appeals court ruling delaying Trump primary ballot removal News
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Maine secretary of state appeals court ruling delaying Trump primary ballot removal

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows appealed a court ruling Friday that delayed a judgment on whether the removal of former president Donald Trump from the 2024 primary ballot was valid under the US Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.

Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy delayed a ruling on the case just earlier this week, remanding the case until the US Supreme Court’s final decision in Trump v. Anderson, a similar lawsuit concerning the former president’s removal from the ballot in Colorado.

Bellows originally disqualified Trump from the ballot after reviewing challenges brought by Maine voters seeking his removal. Trump filed suit in response shortly thereafter. Maine election law allows voters to bring challenges to the validity of a candidate’s petition for candidacy, and the secretary of state is required to review the challenges and confirm that prospective candidates meet other constitutional requirements. Here, the secretary of state based removal on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment, or the so called “insurrection clause,” which bars candidates who have engaged in “insurrection” against the US government from seeking political office.

Bellows expressed her anticipation for the Supreme Court’s ruling on the issue while asserting the importance of having the issue resolved before the upcoming primary.

In the interim, Maine law provides the opportunity to seek review from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court – which I requested today. I know both the constitutional and state authority questions are of grave concern to many. This appeal ensures that Maine’s highest court has an opportunity to weigh in now, before ballots are counted, promoting trust in our free, safe and secure elections.

Trump’s eligibility has been challenged in over half of the states, including the aforementioned case in Colorado currently awaiting a decision from the nation’s highest court. While many of the cases have been dismissed, there is pending litigation in 14 different states. State law has made a difference in officials decisions regarding the issue. For example, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber refused to remove Trump from the ballot citing a lack of authority under the state’s constitution.

Meanwhile, other state officials like Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have actively campaigned to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision, joining in an amicus brief that argued that the Colorado decision was driven by partisan politics that stand to damage the American people’s confidence in the electoral process.