After successfully navigating the majority of his ballot access lawsuits across the country, former President Donald Trump will tango with the anti-Trump forces in yet another state, with a decision on his eligibility expected as soon as Friday.
Spectrum News reports that Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is expected to rule Friday whether or not the former president and GOP frontrunner is eligible for the state’s Republican primary election on March 5th, 2024. Opponents have charged Trump is disqualified from running under an insurrectionist clause in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
On Tuesday the Colorado State Supreme Court concluded that President Trump engaged in insurrection and ordered the secretary of state to withhold his name from the ballot, an unprecedented decision that provoked widespread outrage and assurances from the president’s campaign that it would appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. President Trump had previously been undefeated across more than half a dozen ballot access challenges, with most courts or secretaries of state ruling that plaintiffs, including a long-shot presidential candidate, did not have the standing to bring the suits.
The Maine suit is brought in part by Democrat Ethan Strimling, former Mayor of the ultra-progressive Portland, and Republican former state Sen. Kimberly Rosen. They, like plaintiffs in Colorado, argue that the president’s words and actions around January 6th, 2021 amounted to encouraging an insurrection against Congress during procedures to certify President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
A hearing on the case occurred last Friday where Maine resident Mary Anne Royal of Winterport argued Trump “willfully violated his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution while he was president of the United States.”
“No person who has taken that oath of office, and then violated that oath so egregiously, can ever be trusted to hold public office again.”
Trump attorney Scott Gessler shot back that his client did not engage in insurrection and decisions about the eligibility of presidential candidates is up to Congress, not individual state officials or courts.
“This tribunal, this agency doesn’t have authority because it requires congressional action,” Gessler said Friday. “(The Constitution) doesn’t allow states to do it, and it certainly doesn’t allow administrative agencies.”
The appeal joins two others attempting to keep President Trump off the Maine ballot. One of those, filed by Portland attorney Paul Gordon, cheekily cites President Trump’s assertion that he won the 2020 election and argues that, since Trump won a second term, he would not be eligible to serve a third. The argument is not expected to be taken seriously.
Secretary Bellows said she is expected to give her final decision Friday though emphasized that it is not a hard deadline, according to her office.