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Some Voters–and Lawyers–Want to Invoke 14th Amendment to Disqualify GOP Involved In Jan 6th From Running For Re-Election

Some Voters–and Lawyers–Want to Invoke 14th Amendment to Disqualify GOP Involved In Jan 6th From Running For Re-Election

Some attorneys and voters believe a rarely cited section of the 14th Amendment dealing with insurrection can disqualify a handful of U.S. House members from seeking reelection for events surrounding the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.

There are five sections to the 14th Amendment, but the best-known declares that no state can “deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Section 3 of the Amendment also declares that no one can serve in Congress “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” This section was designed to keep representatives who had fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War from returning to Congress. The amendment, however, allows Congress to pass laws that can remove such restrictions.

First-term Republicans Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia are among those targeted. All are strong supporters of Donald Trump who have pushed his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Voters from congressional districts where Cawthorn and Greene are seeking reelection this fall allege in legal filings that evidence shows they helped facilitate the January 6th insurrection that attempted to block the certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. The voters want state officials to investigate Greene and Cawthorn and disqualify them from appearing on ballots this year, based on the amendment’s language. Free Speech for People, a national election and campaign finance reform group, is helping represent the voters in both challenges. The group has said more challenges could be filed against other members of Congress who are seeking reelection.

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Cawthorn, who was the first representative subjected to the challenge in January, said activists are going after “America First patriots” who backed Trump. Greene said she was targeted because she is “effective and will not bow to the DC machine.” Cawthorn proceeded to sue the State Board of Elections in federal court, saying that North Carolina’s candidate challenge process violated his constitutional rights and should be overturned. His lawyers also said Section 3 didn’t apply to Cawthorn because of congressional action in 1872, but U.S. District Judge Richard Myers ruled earlier this month that the State Board of Elections could not hear the voters’ challenges on Section 3 claims, and the case was dropped.

If the challenges are unsuccessful or delayed, voters still will get to decide whether the subjects of the challenges should return to Congress. Greene and Cawthorn have GOP primaries in May. But Cawthorn has the more difficult road ahead, with at least seven new opponents capitalizing on his mistake of attempting to switch his district in the middle of an election year.

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