The Maine Superior Court on Wednesday ordered Secretary of State Shenna Bellows to revisit her decision blocking former President Donald Trump from Maine’s primary ballot pending the Supreme Court’s issuance of an opinion in a similar case out of Colorado.
Secretary Bellows will need to release her updated ruling within thirty days of the Supreme Court publishing its ruling in Trump v. Anderson, a case concerning former President Trump’s eligibility to appear on Colorado’s presidential primary ballot later this year.
“Because many of the issues presented in this case are likely to be resolved, narrowed, or rendered moot by the Supreme Court’s decision in Anderson, the Court concludes that a remand is necessary,” the decision reads.
“More specifically, the Secretary will be ordered on remand to await the Supreme Court’s decision in Anderson and to issue, within thirty days thereafter, a new Ruling modifying, withdrawing, or confirming her December 28 Ruling,” the Court continues.
“The Court has also concluded that because there are so many federal issues in Anderson, it would be imprudent for this Court to be the first court in Maine to address them,” the decision says. “Put simply, the United States Supreme Court’s acceptance of the Colorado case changes everything about the order in which these issues should be decided, and by which court.”
“And while it is impossible to know what the Supreme Court will decide, hopefully it will at least clarify what role, if any, state decision-makers, including secretaries of state and state judicial officers, play in adjudicating claims of disqualification brought under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the Court states.
The Superior Court’s decision was only a partial victory for Trump’s legal team.
In their ruling, the Superior Court denied the former president’s motion to supplement the record with evidence of the Secretary’s alleged prior relationships with challengers Ethan Strimling and Thomas Saviello.
According to the Court, the evidence presented by Trump concerning Bellows’ alleged business relationship with Strimling could have been discovered at an earlier point in time and that Saviello’s remarks in an interview were not sufficient enough to grant “further hearing” on the motion.
Concerning the motion to stay pending the Supreme Court’s ruling in Anderson, the Court explains in its ruling that it agreed with arguments proffered by both Trump and Bellows in their respective filings.
While they agreed with Trump that it would be “imprudent” to continue proceedings in this case prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Anderson, they also agreed with Bellows that the Court lacks the authority to ignore the statutory deadlines established by Maine law.
Consequently, the Superior Court opted to remand the decision to Bellows pending a ruling from the Supreme Court in Anderson in order to to “promote consistency and avoid voter confusion” leading up to the primary election.
By remanding the decision, the Court was able to allow the Supreme Court’s opinion in Anderson to be factored into consideration of Trump’s eligibility in Maine, while also maintaining respect for the timelines established in state law.
The effect of the Secretary’s December ruling has also been stayed pending a final opinion from the Supreme Court in Anderson, meaning that the former president’s name will not be removed from the ballot unless or until further action is taken in this case requiring it to be.