Trump calls on Maine Secretary to recuse herself from ballot challenge due to Jan. 6 statements

Maine Secretary of State Shanna Bellows is set to make a decision regarding the eligibility of former President Donald Trump to run as a candidate under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This comes after President Trump’s attorneys sent a letter requesting her to disqualify herself from the matter due to her public statements calling the events of Jan. 6, 2021, an “insurrection.”

Bellows announced earlier this month that her office had received three separate challenges to President Trump’s eligibility and then held a public hearing on the matter, which turned into a mini-trial. Scott Gessler, a former Colorado Secretary of State, is representing President Trump in Maine after doing so in Colorado.

After the Colorado Supreme Court ruled to disqualify President Trump from the ballot, Bellows invited the parties to submit additional briefings, postponing the deadline for her ruling. President Trump’s attorneys requested Bellows to disqualify herself due to a personal bias based on her public statements.

The attorneys cited several of Bellows’s posts on social media as evidence of her bias. They argued that Bellows has already judged the events of Jan. 6, 2021, as an insurrection, which could affect her ability to fairly adjudicate the issue.

The 14th Amendment was ratified after the Civil War to grant citizenship and equal rights to all persons born and naturalized in the United States. It included a section meant to prevent officers who had engaged in “insurrections” or “rebellions” from taking office again without a two-thirds vote by Congress. Yet, the text does not explicitly mention the “president” or “vice president,” leading to different interpretations of President Trump’s eligibility.

The challenges to President Trump’s eligibility are based on the allegation that he engaged in an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021. These challenges have led to lawsuits and legal proceedings in several states, including Maine and Colorado.

Maine and Colorado are the only two states to have proceeded with these cases to the point of hearing arguments on the issue of insurrection. In Colorado, a district court judge ruled that Jan. 6 constituted an insurrection, but the Colorado Supreme Court overturned the ruling in part, ordering the state secretary to remove President Trump from the ballot.

The Maine Secretary of State’s decision regarding President Trump’s eligibility will have significant implications for the upcoming election. It is unclear how her ruling will impact the broader debate over Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and its application to former President Trump.

President Trump’s legal team has emphasized the need for a fair and impartial hearing on the matter and has requested Bellows to recuse herself from the proceedings. The outcome of this case could set a precedent for future challenges to the eligibility of candidates under the 14th Amendment, making it a matter of national interest. The Secretary’s decision is highly anticipated and is expected to be closely scrutinized in the coming days.


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