CNN Legal Analyst Rips Maine Secretary Of State For Relying On YouTube Clips In Her Ruling

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig tore into Democratic Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Thursday night for relying on YouTube clips in her decision to kick former President Donald Trump off the ballot.

Bellows ruled Thursday that Trump engaged in an insurrection and violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and was therefore ineligible to hold office.

CNN’s John Berman asked Honig whether it is “that simple” for Bellows to determine Trump is ineligible to be on the ballot because, according to Bellows, he engaged in insurrection.

“No, it’s not that simple. So, clearly Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says, ‘Engage in insurrection, you’re out.’ We all have that. The complicated part, and where we are going to see this play out in the courts, is who gets to decide and by what process.”

Honig said that Bellows’ ruling shows she followed the same argument that the Colorado Supreme Court did in making its decision to remove Trump. (RELATED: Adam Kinzinger Says Maine Official’s Move To Boot Trump ‘Opens A Real Pandora’s Box’)

“Let me sort of lay out the arguments on both sides. And by the way, it’s worth saying: We’re all theorizing here. We’re in legally unknown territory. The argument against is, first of all, the 14th Amendment Section 5 says Congress has the authority to pass laws, to implement this. They did, they passed the criminal law. And the argument is that means Congress, not the states. But perhaps, and this is the argument that the Maine secretary of state and Colorado made, the states can do it too. If that’s true, then Section 2 — question two is, were the processes, were these hearings fair? Did they comport with due process?” Honig explained.

“And I think there’s a question there with regard to what Maine did. Because if you look at the hearing, and she details this in the ruling, they heard from one fact witness. A law professor. She based her ruling on a lot of documents, but also YouTube clips, news reports, things that would never pass the bar in normal court. She’s not a lawyer, by the way. 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 Colorado Supreme Court also ruled that Trump is ineligible to appear on the ballot, though the ruling is pending a Supreme Court appeal. Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold also announced Thursday that Trump would appear on the primary ballot on the Jan. 5 certification deadline unless the high court affirms the state’s decision or refuses to take the case.

“Donald Trump engaged in insurrection and was disqualified under the Constitution from the Colorado ballot,” Griswold said, according to Fox News. “The Colorado Supreme Court got it right. This decision is now being appealed.”

“I urge the U.S. Supreme Court to act quickly given the upcoming presidential primary election,” Griswold added.