Madison Cawthorn could be blocked, the North Carolina Board of Elections has said, from running for office, due to a law barring insurrectionists. However, a Trump-appointed judge says that the BoE is wrong.
Free Speech For People (FSP) has been pursuing disqualification for Cawthorn, arguing to the North Carolina State Board of Elections that there is sufficient evidence Cawthorn took part in the insurrection attempt last year to apply the 14th Amendment’s clause barring from office anyone who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the [U.S. Constitution], or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Last month CNN reported that the Board of Elections was affirming that it did indeed have the power, based on this, to block Cawthorn’s candidacy.
Cawthorn took this to court — FSP‘s legal director, Ron Fein, described his claim this way:
Starting momentarily: Madison Cawthorn is arguing in federal court in NC that (1) the NC candidacy challenge statute is unconstitutional but nobody noticed before; (2) states can't enforce s3 of the 14th amendment; (3) Cawthorn is protected by an 1872 amnesty for ex-Confederates
— Ron Fein (@ronfein) March 4, 2022
(There is a notable lack of claim from Cawthorn that he is not an insurrectionist, or can’t be proven to be one, and therefore not subject to the clause.)
However untenable Fein’s tweet makes Cawthorn’s legal argument sound, a judge agreed with a portion of it. Carolina Public Press journalist Jordan Wilkie says that US District Court Judge Richard Myers ruled on the third of Cawthorn’s claims — that a later law to forgive Confederates effectively absolves not only past, but future, insurrectionists.
FSP issued a response from Fein, saying, “Today’s district court ruling granting Representative Cawthorn’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the North Carolina State Board of Elections must be appealed. This ruling, by Chief Judge Richard Myers II, a Trump appointee, is wrong on the law and would block the State Board of Elections from determining whether Cawthorn is ineligible under the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause of the US Constitution. The ruling must be reversed on appeal, and the right of voters to bring this challenge to Cawthorn’s eligibility must be preserved.”
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com