Maine Secretary Of State Withdraws Determination That Trump Should Be Removed

By Victor Winston, updated on March 5, 2024

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has made its voice heard loud and clear.

Maine's highest office has reversed its stance on former President Donald Trump's eligibility to appear on the state's presidential primary ballot, aligning with the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling.

Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, initially ruled against Trump's inclusion on the ballot, citing the Fourteenth Amendment's Insurrection Clause. In December, she stated Trump did not meet the qualifications mandated by Section Three of this amendment. Her decision was pending the guidance of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Unites in Historic Decision

The Supreme Court delivered a clear decision stating that states cannot use Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to determine the eligibility of candidates for federal offices.

This ruling directly affected Bellows's earlier decision, prompting a reassessment of Trump's qualification to appear on the Maine ballot for the presidential primary election on March 5, 2024. As a result, Bellows reversed her initial stance, allowing Trump to run in the state's primary.

Moreover, this Supreme Court decision also reversed a disputed judgment by the Colorado Supreme Court and halted similar efforts to block Trump from appearing on ballots in other states.

The ruling emphasized that while states have the power to disqualify candidates from running for or holding state offices under Section Three, they do not have the authority to apply this disqualification to federal office candidates, especially in the case of the presidency.

Trump and Bellows Respond to the Verdict

Reacting from Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump called for the cessation of "weaponization" against political figures. He underscored the importance of entrusting the electorate, rather than the judiciary, with the authority to determine a candidate's eligibility for office.

Before sharing Trump's extensive quote, Bellows expressed her compliance with the Supreme Court's decision. She highlighted her commitment to abide by the law and the Constitution, leading to her withdrawal of the previous determination against Trump.

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. However, states have no power under the Constitution to enforce Section Three concerning federal offices, especially the presidency.

An End to Legal Uncertainty

Bellows' decisive action effectively reinforces the principle that determining a candidate's qualification for federal offices, particularly the presidency, resides not with individual states but with the federal jurisdiction and, ultimately, the voters themselves.

In December, Bellows made a bold move by questioning Trump's eligibility based on his actions, suggesting that he "is not qualified to hold the office of the president under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment."

Trump's commentary post-ruling was a poignant reminder of the democratic process. He emphasized the power of the electorate to remove candidates from contention through the ballot box, reinforcing the Supreme Court's sentiment that courts should not preemptively strike candidates from running for office.

In summary, the Supreme Court's unanimous decision has reshaped the landscape of electoral eligibility discussions in the United States, reinforcing the separation of powers and underscoring the principle that the eligibility of candidates for federal offices, particularly the presidency, is a matter beyond the purview of individual state authority.

This ruling has implications for the 2024 presidential primary election in Maine and sets a precedent that could influence future electoral eligibility disputes across the country.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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