Maine and Colorado have barred Donald Trump from the state’s primary election ballots, citing his role in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and arguing he is ineligible under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. However, California and other states have allowed him to remain on their ballots, and his campaign has denounced the disqualification efforts as partisan election interference. Legal experts warn that the scope of a Supreme Court decision on the issue could determine the speed and outcomes of these challenges.
Maine Official Blocks Trump from State’s Primary Ballot
Maine’s leading election official has ruled former President Donald J. Trump ineligible for the state’s primary election ballot. The decision, based on allegations of Trump’s involvement in efforts to disrupt the peaceful transition of power post the 2020 election, is the second such instance of a state barring Trump’s re-election bid.
Contrasting Decisions in California and Maine
On the same day, California declared Trump would remain on their ballot. California’s election officials hold limited authority to remove candidates, unlike their counterparts in Maine. Maine’s Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows, disqualified Trump due to his purported role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The decision aligns Maine with Colorado, which recently prohibited Trump from appearing on their Republican primary ballot through a 4-3 Supreme Court decision.
Looming Supreme Court Interference
The conflicting rulings highlight the ongoing debate over democracy, ballot access, and rule of law in the U.S., increasing calls for intervention from the U.S. Supreme Court. As the first votes of the 2024 election approach, both sides seek the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment—a key to preventing Trump’s third White House run.
Michigan and Minnesota’s Stance
In contrast, courts in Minnesota and Michigan decided that election authorities couldn’t prevent the Republican Party from listing Trump on their primary ballots. Michigan’s Supreme Court affirmed on Wednesday that political parties should determine candidate eligibility.
Ongoing Legal Battles
Another anticipated court verdict from Oregon will decide Trump’s ballot eligibility in the state. Meanwhile, in California, Secretary of State Shirley Weber certified the official list of candidates, indicating her inclination to keep Trump on the ballot. The legal cases revolve around a constitutional amendment enacted post-Civil War, disqualifying individuals who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office.
Trump and his campaign have labelled these efforts as deceitful tactics by Democrats to prevent facing him in the elections. Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign, criticized Maine’s secretary of state, accusing her of partisan election interference. Groups spearheading the disqualification efforts argue that Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results warrant extraordinary protective measures for American democracy.
Maine’s Detailed Verdict
Bellows wrote that Trump’s petition to join the Maine ballot was invalid as his candidate consent form falsely declared him qualified for presidency. She also noted Trump’s awareness and initial support of the likelihood of violence. The exact impact of a Supreme Court decision on these issues will depend on its scope.
Trump’s Right to Appeal
Trump can contest Bellows’ decision in Maine’s Superior Court within five days. The order will not be enforced until the court passes an appeal verdict, which Trump’s campaign intends to file shortly. The Republican primaries in Maine and Colorado are both scheduled for March 5, known as Super Tuesday.
Read More US News