Maine judge suspends decision to exclude Trump from primary vote

From Maine's Republican primary ballot, former President Donald J. A Maine judge on Wednesday ordered the state's top elections official to wait for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling before implementing his decision to exclude Trump.

Maine Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy said in the ruling that Officer Shenna Bellows was forced under Maine law to issue her decision quickly without getting the benefit of the high court's input.

Mr. At Trump's request, the Supreme Court agreed to review an earlier decision by a Colorado court to exclude him from the ballot, and is expected to hear arguments in the case on February 8. Colorado cited the court. Justice in her decision.

“The Secretary faced an uncertain legal landscape when he issued his ruling” Justice Murphy wrote in a 17-page decisionAnd whatever the High Court decides “must be given an opportunity to assess the effect and application” of its judgment.

He added: “Simply put, the United States Supreme Court's acceptance of the Colorado case changes everything about which court should decide these issues.”

30 days after the US Supreme Court ruled in the Colorado case, a Maine court ordered Ms Bellows to issue a new decision “modifying, reversing or affirming” her previous decision to exclude Mr Trump from the ballot.

Maine is unusual in requiring its secretary of state to rule before the courts take up questions of ballot eligibility. Mr. Many Maine voters who opposed Trump's candidacy called for Ms. Petitioned Bellows.

They argued in legal briefs and a hearing last month that the ex-president was no longer fit to hold public office because he was involved in insurgency by promoting an attack on the US capital on January 6, 2021.

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A section of the Constitution's 14th Amendment — originally enacted to prevent former Confederate officials from serving in the federal government — disqualifies government officials from office who are “engaged in rebellion or insurrection.”

In her decision on Dec. 28, Ms. Bellows, a Democrat who was elected to her position by state legislators, sided with voters — a group of three former elected officials filed a challenge, and an individual citizen filed another petition based on it. Argument. In an attempt to prevent a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 elections, Mr. He found Trump unfit for the presidency and thus unfit for the Maine ballot.

After the Supreme Court of Colorado reached the same conclusion, his finding, Mr. That made Maine the second state to block Trump.

The fate of other ballot challenges in states across the country also depends on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision. Formal challenges have been filed in at least 35 states; Although the primary season is already underway, more than half of the states still have unsolved cases.

Republican primaries in Maine and Colorado are both scheduled for March 5, also known as Super Tuesday because many states hold their primaries that day. The deadline to mail ballots to Maine overseas voters is Saturday.

Mr. Trump's lawyers, Ms. Days after Bellows' decision was released, the Supreme Court appealed to the Maine Supreme Court, arguing that it “lacked statutory authority to consider the federal constitutional issues presented by the challengers.” They described his decision as “the result of a process affected by bias”.

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A spokesman for Mr Trump said in a statement on Wednesday that the court's order was “the right thing to do”.

“President Trump is confident that we will ultimately prevail with a fair ruling on the issues before the Supreme Court,” said spokesman Steven Cheung. We will not stop fighting the remaining bogus, bad faith 14th Amendment ballot challenges.

Mr. Ethan Strimling, former mayor of Portland, Maine, is on the ballot. Calling for Trump's removal, his group of rivals said they were “pleased with the court's decision to leave the secretary's decision intact” rather than replace it.

A survey by the University of New Hampshire found Maine residents must be strictly segregated With 85 percent of Democrats and 95 percent of Republicans opposed, Ms. Against Bellows' conclusion. Independent voters were evenly split, with 47 percent in favor and 49 percent against.

Nicholas F. Jacobs, an assistant professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, said the court's action was “a sensible decision.”

“At a time when the security and validity of American elections are in great doubt, it's admirable for a company to take a step back and think about the damage they can do,” he said. “Even if they want the court to reach a certain decision today, that's good for all the manors.”

Justice Murphy was first appointed to the Maine court by John E. Baldacci, a Democrat, and later reappointed by his successor, Governor Paul LePage, a Republican.

Mr. His move to delay a decision on Trump's ballot eligibility “minimizes any destabilizing effect of uneven results,” Judge Murphy wrote, “promoting greater predictability in the coming weeks.”

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