Maine Judge Suspends Trump Ban from Primary Ballot

Spread the love

On Wednesday, a court in Maine issued an order that the state’s top election official must wait for a verdict from the United States Supreme Court before putting into force her decision to ban former President Donald Trump from the Republican primary vote in Maine. In her opinion, Justice Michaela Murphy of the Maine Superior Court stated that the official, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, had been compelled by the legislation of Maine to make her decision in a timely manner, without the benefit of the involvement of the top court.

The Supreme Court has agreed to reevaluate a Colorado court’s earlier decision to keep President Trump off the ballot in response to a request from him. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the matter on February 8th. Bellows had based her ruling on the reasoning that was presented by the Colorado court. Become a subscriber to the New York Times’s Morning newsletter by clicking here.

Maine Judge Suspends Trump Ban from Primary Ballot
Maine Judge Suspends Trump Ban from Primary Ballot

Murphy stated in a decision that was seventeen pages long that “the secretary confronted an uncertain legal landscape when she issued her ruling.” Murphy also stated that the secretary “should be afforded the opportunity to assess the effect and application” of whatever the high court determines when it comes to her ruling. To put it another way, she stated, “To put it simply, the acceptance of the Colorado case by the United States Supreme Court changes everything about the order in which these issues should be decided and by which court.”

“modifying, withdrawing, or confirming” her prior ruling to keep Trump off the ballot, the Maine court directed Bellows to issue a fresh decision no later than thirty days after the United States Supreme Court made its decision on the Colorado case.

When it comes to ballot-eligibility problems, Maine is one of the few states that requires its secretary of state to make a decision before cases are brought before the courts. A number of Maine voters who were opposed to Trump’s candidacy had submitted a petition to Bellows requesting that he be removed from the ballot.


They contended in legal documents and at a hearing that took place a month ago that the former president was no longer qualified to hold public office because he participated in an act of insurrection by inciting the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. Government officials who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” are disqualified from holding office, according to a provision in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which was initially enacted to prevent former officials of the Confederacy from serving in the federal government.

According to the ruling that she made on December 28th, Bellows, a Democrat who was chosen to her position by state legislators, took the side of the voters. The voters included a group of three former elected officials who submitted one challenge and an individual citizen who filed another challenge based on the same rationale.

The reason that she came to the conclusion that Trump was ineligible for the presidency and, consequently, the ballot in Maine was due to the fact that he had exploited “a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters” in an effort to impede a peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 election.


After the highest court in Colorado made its decision, Maine became the second state to reject Trump’s nomination as a result of her decision.

The outcome of the Supreme Court’s judgment may also determine the outcomes of other ballot challenges that have been filed in states all throughout the country. At least 35 states have submitted formal challenges; despite the fact that the primary election season has already begun, more than 50 percent of those states still have issues that have not been determined.

Due to the fact that many states hold their primaries on the same day, March 5 is also known as Super Tuesday. The Republican primaries in Maine and Colorado are both set to take place on that Monday. On Saturday, the deadline for Maine to send ballots to voters located outside of the state was set.

Within a few days of Bellows’ decision, Trump’s attorneys filed an appeal with the Maine Superior Court, claiming that she lacked the “legal authority to consider the federal constitutional issues presented by the challengers.” According to their description, her decision was “the result of a bias-infected process.”

A representative for President Trump referred to the court’s order as “a correct action” in a statement made public on Wednesday.


President Trump is sure that we will ultimately prevail with a fair verdict on the matters that are currently before the Supreme Court, according to Steven Cheung, who is the spokesperson for the administration. “We will not give up the fight against the remaining ballot challenges to the 14th Amendment that are bogus and made in bad faith.”

Ethan Strimling, a former mayor of Portland who advocated for the removal of Donald Trump from the ballot in Maine, stated that his group of challengers was “happy with the court’s decision to leave the secretary’s ruling intact” rather than reversing it.

According to a survey by the University of New Hampshire, 95 percent of Republicans opposed Bellows’ decision, while 85 percent of Democrats supported it. The opinions of independent voters were roughly equal, with 47% of them supporting the policy and 49% opposing it.

Given voters’ concerns about partisanship in the electoral process, Nicholas F. Jacobs, an assistant professor of government at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, referred to the court’s judgment as “a prudent decision.”

“It is commendable to see an institution take a step back and consider the damage they could do at a time when the security and validity of American elections are coming under greater suspicion,” the speaker added. “That’s beneficial for all Mainers, regardless of whether they desired the court’s ruling today.”

First nominated by Democratic Governor John Baldacci, Murphy was reappointed to the Maine Court by Republican Governor Paul LePage.

In a statement, Murphy stated that her decision to postpone the ruling on Trump eligibility for the ballot “minimizes any potentially destabilizing effect of inconsistent decisions and will promote greater predictability in the weeks ahead.”

The New York Times Company, c. 2024


Spread the love