Former US president Donald Trump filed an appeal on Tuesday against a ruling by the top election official in Maine that would keep him off the presidential primary ballot in the northeastern state.
Maine last week joined Colorado in barring Trump from appearing on the primary ballot because of his role in the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol by his supporters.
Trump’s attorneys urged the Maine Superior Court to toss out the ruling by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, calling her a “biased decisionmaker” who “acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner.”
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled last month that Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is ineligible to appear on the presidential primary ballot in the western state because of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.
Section Three of the 14th Amendment bars anyone from holding public office if they engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” after once pledging to support and defend the Constitution.
The amendment, ratified in 1868 after the Civil War, was aimed at preventing supporters of the slave-holding Confederacy from being elected to Congress or from holding federal positions.
The Republican Party in Colorado has appealed the Colorado Supreme Court ruling to the US Supreme Court, and the Maine case is also expected to eventually make its way to the nation’s highest court.
In her decision, Bellows said the January 6 attack “occurred at the behest of, and with the knowledge and support of, the outgoing President.”
“The US Constitution does not tolerate an assault on the foundations of our government and (Maine law) requires me to act in response,” she said.
Similar 14th Amendment challenges to Trump’s eligibility have been filed in other states as well. Courts in Minnesota and Michigan recently ruled that Trump should stay on the ballot in those states.
The twice-impeached former president is scheduled to go on trial in Washington in March for conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election won by Democrat Joe Biden.
He also faces racketeering charges in Georgia for allegedly conspiring to upend the election results in the southern state.
Maine and Colorado hold their presidential nominating contests on March 5 — also known as “Super Tuesday” — when voters in more than a dozen states, including California and Texas, go to the polls.
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