Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Thursday ruled that former President Donald Trump is ineligible to appear on the state’s presidential primary ballot in 2024.
The decision to declare Trump ineligible under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that no one who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after swearing an oath to uphold the Constitution can hold office, follows a similar ruling in Colorado last week.
“I do not reach this conclusion lightly. Democracy is sacred, Bellows, a Democrat, wrote in her 34-page decision, which followed hearings on three separate challenges to Trump’s candidacy.
I am mindful that no Secretary of State has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection, she wrote.
The weight of the evidence makes clear that Mr. Trump was aware of the tinder laid by his multi-month effort to delegitimize a democratic election, and then chose to light a match, Bellows wrote. She also noted that he used a false narrative of election fraud to inflame his supporters and direct them to the Capitol to prevent certification of the 2020 election and the peaceful transfer of power.
The events of Jan. 6, 2021, were unprecedented and tragic, she wrote.
“They were an attack not only upon the Capitol and government officials, but also an attack on the rule of law. The evidence here demonstrates that they occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of, the outgoing President. The U.S. Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government, Bellows wrote.
The decision will not be enforced, however, until the Superior Court rules on any appeal, or the time to appeal has expired, according to Bellows’ office.
Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said an appeal will be filed.
We will quickly file a legal objection in state court to prevent this atrocious decision in Maine from taking effect, Cheung said.
Courts in Arizona, Michigan and Minnesota, meanwhile, have ruled against petitions to disqualify Trump, allowing him on their ballots.
TMX contributed to this article.