Donald Trump barred from Maine’s primary ballot – Times of India

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In a landmark decision, Maine’s secretary of state Shenna Bellows has disqualified former US President Donald Trump from appearing on the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot. This move, rooted in Trump’s alleged involvement in the January 2021 assault on the US Capitol, marks a significant turn in the upcoming presidential race.
Driving the news

  • The decision by Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, is the first of its kind by a state election official and will likely face legal challenges from the Trump campaign.
  • Bellows invoked Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the US from holding office.
  • She said Trump’s actions on January 6, 2021, when he incited his supporters to storm the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election results, amounted to an assault on the foundations of American democracy and violated the oath he took to protect the Constitution.

Why it matters

  • Maine’s decision is pivotal as it directly challenges Trump’s eligibility to run for office again.
  • By invoking the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause, Maine joins Colorado in a growing trend of states scrutinizing candidates’ constitutional eligibility.
  • Maine’s primary is scheduled for March 7, 2024. The state has four electoral votes and has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election since 1992.
  • This move could set a precedent for other states and potentially reshape the political landscape ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

The big picture
The rulings in Maine and Colorado are based on the 14th Amendment, which prohibits individuals from holding office if they have engaged in insurrection after swearing to protect the country.This constitutional provision, rarely invoked in modern times, has brought the issue of election integrity and candidate eligibility to the forefront of national discourse. The Supreme Court’s impending decision on this matter could have far-reaching implications for future elections and candidate qualifications.
What they are saying

  • The Trump campaign has vehemently opposed the ruling, with spokesman Steven Cheung labeling it as “attempted theft of an election” and an “assault on American democracy.”
  • Cheung accused President Biden and Democrats of using government institutions to maintain power.
  • In contrast, Bellows defended her decision as a necessary response to uphold the Constitution and the foundations of American government.
  • The ruling has been both criticized and praised, reflecting the deep political divide and the contentious nature of Trump’s candidacy.

(With inputs from agebcies)


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