Maine’s highest court has opted not to intervene in Donald Trump’s ballot appeal at this time, citing procedural reasons rather than making a determination on Trump’s eligibility for office.
The decision comes as a response to Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows’ previous ruling, which barred Trump from appearing on the state’s primary ballot, asserting that he had engaged in insurrection after pledging allegiance to the Constitution.
A judge had temporarily set aside the decision, sending the case back to Bellows for a new ruling following the anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Colorado eligibility case. Bellows then sought an appeal with Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court. However, the court, in a statement on Wednesday, explained that it was premature for them to engage in the matter, emphasizing that the judge had returned the case to Bellows. The court clarified:
“If we were to issue a final decision and subsequently discover from the Supreme Court that, for instance, Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment is not self-executing, or that all findings related to insurrection must adhere to a higher standard of proof than the Secretary of State applied, it could lead to a flurry of legal activities attempting to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision. This could result in delays that the existing interim order might prevent.”
It is crucial to note that the court’s decision should not be interpreted as an endorsement of either Trump’s or Bellows’ stance on the merits of the former president’s eligibility.
Rather, the Maine court is opting to withhold a ruling for now, acknowledging the potential impact of the forthcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Colorado case. The awaited ruling, scheduled for February 8, will likely provide further clarity on this matter.