Trump appeals Maine ruling barring him from state ballot

Donald Trump

WASHINGTON — The legal team for former President Donald Trump on Tuesday appealed Maine’s decision to bar him over the state’s ballot, with a similar filing expected after a court case in Colorado last month.

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Trump’s legal team is appealing the move by Maine’s secretary of state to that state’s Superior Court, according to The Associated Press.

In an 11-page filing, Trump’s appeal declared that Bellows had no jurisdiction in case and requested that she be required to place the former president on the state’s March 5 primary ballot, the news organization reported. The appeal argues that she abused her discretion and relied on “untrustworthy evidence.”

“The secretary should have recused herself due to her bias against President Trump, as demonstrated by a documented history of prior statements prejudging the issue presented,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in the appeal.

A clerk in Kennebec County Superior Court confirmed that Trump’s legal team filed a formal appeal, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Bellows has said her personal views had nothing to do with her ruling.

“Every state is different,” Maine’s secretary of state, Shenna Bellows, said Friday, according to The New York Times. “I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. I fulfilled my duty.”

The move in Maine was made by Bellows after challenges were filed, according to the newspaper. Trump’s allies have pointed to Bellows’ affiliation with the Democratic Party and the fact that she is not an elected official, but an appointed one, according to the newspaper.

The Trump campaign said the decision is part of an “attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” the Press Herald reported.

The deadline for an answer from Maine’s courts on Trump’s appeal is later this month, according to WGME-TV.

Trump technically remains on the primary ballots in Maine and Colorado.

Two weeks ago the Colorado Supreme Court, by a 4-3 decision, removed the former president from the state’s 2024 presidential ballot, ruling that he is ineligible as a candidate because of the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist ban.

The rulings marked the first time a court has kept a presidential candidate off the ballot under an 1868 provision of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, The Washington Post reported. The provision was originally added to prevent Confederates from returning to their former government offices. The clause says that anyone who swore an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” against it is no longer eligible.

The Colorado court’s decision had been placed on hold pending an appeal until Thursday, The New York Times reported. State officials said the issue must be settled by Friday, which is the deadline for Colorado to print its presidential primary ballots, according to The Denver Post. The Colorado primary is on March 5, 2024.

The three-panel court in Colorado reversed a Denver district judge’s ruling last month that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment did not apply to the president, the Times reported. The judge found that Trump incited an insurrection for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, but added that he could not be left off the ballot because it was unclear whether the provision covered the presidency, according to The Associated Press.

Colorado’s Supreme Court is the first court to find that the disqualification clause applies to Trump, the Times reported. Similar lawsuits in Minnesota and New Hampshire were dismissed on procedural grounds, according to the newspaper.

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