Trump’s lawyer submitted on Tuesday a petition in Maine, to reverse the decision to strike Trump off the state’s primary election ballot. Trump’s legal team argues that the Secretary of State who ruled on the decision “failed to provide lawful due process” because she was proven to be biased. They present evidence of this by highlighting that Secretary Bellows wrote social media posts calling the January 6th attack on the nation’s Capital an ‘insurrection’ before any official congressional report on the matter. They also emphasized the fact that Bellows formally worked as an attorney for the ACLU. An official Trump campaign statement describes her as “a virulent leftist and a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat.”
Trump’s team additionally claims that the Secretary of State has no statutory authority to rule on issues the Secretary raised under section 3 of the 14th Amendment. It was claimed it is not the role of state officials to enforce. They further argue that Bellows acted arbitrarily and capriciously as Trump has not been formally accused of insurrection.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was added to the US Constitution after the Civil War to prevent Confederates from returning to their former government offices. The clause states that anyone who swore an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it is no longer eligible. Historical evidence and precedent-to-date confirm that a criminal conviction is not required for an individual to be disqualified under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. In the aftermath of the Civil War, only eight officials were formally disqualified under Section 3.
Trump’s lawyers say section 3 of the 14th Amendment does not apply because Trump was never an ‘officer of the United States’ and never took an oath ‘to support the Constitution.’ Trump’s lawyer says the Secretary of State relied only on Trump’s speeches, which did not incite an insurrection, and Trump’s words were protected under the 1st amendment.
In the December 28th ruling, the Secretary of State stated that the Congressional January 6th report qualifies as evidence that reasonable persons can rely on in deciding “severe matters before the court”. Because of rulings in Maine and Colorado and 17 other pending state cases, the US Supreme Court is expected to rule on this section of the Constitution for the first time in history.
The Republican primary in Maine is Super Tuesday, March 5th.