Maine's Kennebec County Superior Court, the state's top trial court, has deferred a decision on whether former President Donald Trump is eligible to appear on the 2024 primary ballot in accordance with Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, commonly referred to as the "insurrection clause."
Justice Michaela Murphy, in a 17-page ruling on Wednesday, opted to withhold judgment on the "unprecedented issues" surrounding Trump's eligibility, citing the ongoing consideration of a similar case by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Maine court defers ruling on election official disqualifying former Pres. Trump because of 14th Amendment. https://t.co/naGzn6h886
— ABC News (@ABC) January 17, 2024
The court rejected Trump's appeal of Secretary of State Shenna Bellows' December decision but temporarily stayed the effect of Bellows' ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court reaches a decision.
The Supreme Court is slated to hear a comparable case from Colorado, where Trump was deemed ineligible for the primary ballot under the same disqualification clause, with oral arguments scheduled for Feb. 8.
Justice Murphy instructed Bellows to issue a new decision on Trump's eligibility within 30 days of the U.S. Supreme Court's verdict on the Colorado challenge.
Bellows, a Democrat, had earlier ruled Trump ineligible for Maine's 2024 primary ballot, alleging his involvement in the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
This decision faced challenges from Maine politicians, including former Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, and a resident, asserting that Trump violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
Strimling expressed contentment with the court's choice, stating they are pleased with the Secretary's ruling characterizing Trump as an insurrectionist, and that the 14th Amendment is applicable.
In response, a spokesperson for Trump reiterated their steadfast opposition to what they perceive as "bad-faith shams."
Trump consistently denies any wrongdoing and has previously appealed analogous decisions in various states.
The case adds to ongoing controversy with several states seeking Trump ballot bans ahead of the 2024 primaries, with the former president's poll numbers growing in a likely rematch against President Joe Biden.