PORTLAND, Maine — Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday appealed a ruling by Maine’s secretary of state barring him from the state’s 2024 ballot over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, contending she had no authority, that he incited no riot, never swore to “support” the Constitution and was not a government officer as stipulated in the constitutional amendment she cited.
Trump, whose front-running Republican candidacy could be threatened, appealed the Maine decision by Democrat Shenna Bellows, who became the first secretary of state in history to bar someone from running for the presidency under the rarely used Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. That provision prohibits those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.
The former president is expected to soon appeal a similar ban by the Colorado Supreme Court. That appeal would go to the U.S. Supreme Court, while Bellows’ action is being appealed to a Maine Superior Court.
Trump’s appeal on Tuesday asks that Bellows be required to place him on the March 5 primary ballot. 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.
Ruling on Pause Pending Appeal Outcome
Bellows reiterated to The Associated Press on Tuesday that her ruling was on pause pending the outcome of the appeal, which had been expected.
“This is part of the process. I have confidence in my decision and confidence in the rule of law. This is Maine’s process and it’s really important that first and foremost every single one of us who serves in government uphold the Constitution and the laws of the state,” she said.
Trump is expected to appeal a similar ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has never issued a decision on Section 3. The Colorado court’s 4-3 ruling that it applied to Trump was the first time in history the provision was used to bar a presidential contender from the ballot.
The Colorado Republican Party has already appealed that state’s ruling to the nation’s highest court.
Trump’s critics have filed dozens of lawsuits seeking to disqualify him in multiple states.
None succeeded until a slim majority of Colorado’s seven justices — all of whom were appointed by Democratic governors — ruled against Trump. Critics warned that it was an overreach and that the court could not simply declare that the Jan. 6 attack was an “insurrection” without a more established judicial process.