Maine Secretary of State Withdraws Determination That Donald Trump Should Be Banned from Ballot

Shenna Bellows
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows (D) withdrew her previous determination that former President Donald Trump should be prohibited from appearing on the ballot, doing so following the Supreme Court’s nine-to-zero decision, which determined that states do not possess the authority to ban a candidate from the ballot using the Fourteenth Amendment’s “Insurrection Clause.”

In December, Bellows determined that she believed Trump to be ineligible to appear on the state’s ballot based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Insurrection Clause. However, she said at the time that the decision would not be carried out until the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in.

“Specifically, I find that the declaration on his candidate consent form is false because he is not qualified to hold the office of the president under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment,” she wrote at the time. However, following the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling, she formally withdrew her determination.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that individual states lack authority to enforce Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment with respect to federal offices,” she wrote, according to the Hill.

“Consistent with my oath and obligation to follow the law and the Constitution, and pursuant to the Anderson decision, I hereby withdraw my determination that Mr. Trump’s primary petition is invalid,” Bellows continued.

“As a result of the modified ruling, votes cast for Mr. Trump in the March 5, 2024, presidential primary election will be counted,” she added.

The update from Bellows serves as another example of the magnitude of Monday’s ruling, reversing the controversial four-to-three opinion of the Colorado Supreme Court, showcasing how it effectively kills all other efforts to disqualify Trump from the ballot in this same way.

“This case raises the question [of] whether the states, in addition to Congress, may also enforce Section Three. We conclude that states may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office,” the court wrote in part.

“But states have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section Three with respect to federal offices, especially the presidency,” it said, adding, “Granting the states that authority would invert the Fourteenth Amendment’s rebalancing of federal and state power.”

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Speaking from Mar-a-Lago following the ruling, Trump said President Joe Biden must “stop weaponization” and begin to fight “yourself.”

“Don’t use prosecutors and judges to go after your opponent to try and damage your opponents, and you can win an election. Our country is much bigger than that,” Trump said, highlighting that the attacks against him — “the state, the city, and the federal” — are “all coordinated.”

“The voters can take the person out of the race very quickly,” Trump continued, adding, “but a court shouldn’t be doing that, and the Supreme Court said that very well.”

The case is Trump v. Anderson, No. 23-719 in the Supreme Court of the United States.


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