Maine has taken a bold step in barring former President Donald Trump from its 2024 presidential ballot, BBC reports.
Secretary of State Shenna Bellows cited a constitutional insurrection clause linked to the 14th Amendment, which prohibits individuals who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States from holding federal office. This move follows Colorado, making Maine the second state to enforce such a ban.
Trump's campaign is already planning to appeal the decision in Maine's courts. Interestingly, California announced that Trump would remain on the Republican primary ballot, showcasing the varied responses across different states.
Courts in Michigan and Minnesota have dismissed similar efforts to block Trump's candidacy, further complicating the national picture.
The focus now shifts to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to make a final decision on Trump’s eligibility. This arises from the 14th Amendment, established post-Civil War, intended to prevent Confederate leaders from holding federal office. The Maine ruling specifically refers to Trump's actions leading up to the Capitol riot in 2021 as the basis for his disqualification.
Secretary Bellows, a Democrat, emphasized that her decision was thorough and based on the rule of law, not political motivations. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign has criticized the decision, with spokesman Steven Cheung labeling it as "election interference" and calling Bellows "a hyper-partisan Biden-supporting Democrat."
Republican rivals, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, have also voiced their concerns. DeSantis warned of a potential Pandora's Box, suggesting similar tactics could be used against Democratic candidates, while Ramaswamy vowed to withdraw from any state ballot that excludes Trump.
The decision has sparked a wide range of reactions, with some seeing it as a legitimate application of constitutional law and others viewing it as an overreach. Former federal prosecutor Joe Moreno expressed skepticism about the ruling's sustainability, predicting a political uproar and a fast-tracked Supreme Court hearing.
As the legal and political drama unfolds, Maine's decision marks a significant moment in the lead-up to the 2024 U.S. presidential elections, setting the stage for a potentially groundbreaking Supreme Court showdown.