Professor Warns More States Could Attempt to Prevent Trump from Being on Ballot if SCOTUS Does Not Intervene

A legal expert has warned that several states and courts may take steps to prevent former President Donald Trump from being on state ballots for the 2024 election unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes.

A decision from Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Thursday to prevent the former president from appearing on the state’s ballot highlights the need for the highest court in the land to clarify the actions that states can take.

“It is clear that these decisions are going to keep popping up, and inconsistent decisions reached until there is final and decisive guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court,” wrote Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Los Angeles. “It seems a certainty that SCOTUS will have to address the merits sooner or later and sooner is much better than later for the rights of voters to not be infringed and for the political stability of the country.”

Bellows became the first top election official to unilaterally strike a presidential candidate from the ballot under that provision. Last week, a majority of judges on the Colorado Supreme Court issued a similar ruling, which was later confirmed by Colorado’s secretary of state.

Following Bellows’ decision, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig noted that she “heard from one fact witness, a law professor” and also “based her ruling on a lot of documents, but also YouTube clips, news reports, things that would never pass the bar in a normal court.”

“She’s not a lawyer, by the way,” Mr. Honig said on the network. “It’s a smartly written decision, clearly consulted with lawyers, but this is an unelected—she’s chosen by the state legislature. Chosen, elected by the legislature, but not democratically elected.”

The legal process to challenge the decisions in Colorado and Maine is still ongoing. This means that President Trump’s political fate is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both decisions were made on interpretations of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment’s Section 3, which prohibits any candidate from running for office if they have engaged in a rebellion or insurrection against the government. Although President Trump faces charges in multiple jurisdictions, he has not been charged or convicted of either crime.

While the California secretary of state declined to remove President Trump from the ballot, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement saying that he opposes the move to remove the former president from his state’s ballot.

The Trump campaign expressed its intent to appeal Bellows’ decision to Maine’s state courts. “We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s role in determining whether President Trump will appear on the ballot in Maine and in the other states will likely play a crucial part in the upcoming election.

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