Trump Contests his ‘arbitrary’ Exclusion From the Maine Ballot

Donald Trump has filed an appeal challenging the decision made by Maine’s top election official to exclude him from the ballot in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.

Mr Trump, the leading candidate from the Republican party, has requested that a state court reverse the decision made by Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.

Ms Bellows has previously justified her decision by emphasising her commitment to upholding the law.

In a surprising turn of events, the former US president has been disqualified from the ballot in Colorado.

Challenges based on the US constitution’s insurrection clause and allegations of incitement of the 2021 US Capitol riot resulted in Mr Trump being removed from the Maine and Colorado ballots.

The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits individuals who have participated in insurrection or rebellion from holding federal office.

In Monday’s court filing regarding the Maine decision, Mr Trump’s attorneys argue that Ms Bellows, a Democrat, was an impartial decision maker who lacked the legal authority to remove him from the ballot.

In addition, the filing claims that Ms. Bellows made several legal mistakes and acted in a manner that was arbitrary and capricious.

“The filing claims that the Secretary’s actions will result in President Trump being unlawfully excluded from the ballot,” according to the statement.

Ms Bellows, a former state senator and executive director of Maine’s American Civil Liberties Union, assumed the role of Maine’s Secretary of State in December 2020. A group of current and former state lawmakers questioned Mr. Trump’s eligibility to be on the ballot, leading to Ms. Bellows’ decision as required by Maine law.

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Other states, like Michigan and Minnesota, have seen similar lawsuits rejected in court.

The US Supreme Court is anticipated to address the matter brought up in Maine and Colorado, which will remain on hold until the legal disputes are resolved. The court’s decision on Mr. Trump’s eligibility would have a nationwide impact.

According to David Janovksy, a senior policy analyst at the Project on Government Oversight, the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling will be favourable, regardless of the decision.

“The presence of two states in Colorado and Maine making this determination, in contrast to other states that have chosen not to take such a step, suggests that this situation could be a strong candidate for resolution by the Supreme Court,” he stated.

“Given the current circumstances of being in an election year, it is crucial to act promptly,” Mr. Janovsky emphasised.

During an interview with the BBC last week, Ms Bellows stood by her actions and expressed her hope for a resolution through the Supreme Court.

“However, it is important to note that no presidential candidate has ever engaged in insurrection,” Ms. Bellows stated.

She strongly asserted that her decision was not influenced by politics, but rather was made with thoroughness and adherence to the rule of law.

Mr Trump and his campaign have criticised the rulings from Maine and Colorado, claiming they are politically motivated and aimed at undermining his chances of winning the 2024 election.

Aside from the ongoing legal disputes surrounding his eligibility in the election, Mr. Trump is currently dealing with trials in federal court and in Georgia related to his efforts to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election against Democrat Joe Biden.

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He has not faced charges related to inciting insurrection in either of the two cases.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington DC made a ruling in a separate case, allowing part of a lawsuit against Mr. Trump to proceed. The lawsuit is related to the death of a police officer during the 6 January riot.

In the lawsuit, Sandra Garza, the wife of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, has filed a legal complaint against Mr. Trump and two individuals involved in the riot in connection with the tragic death of her husband.

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