Liberal activists who sought to try to block Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., from running for reelection are now targeting Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.
Free Speech for People opposes the objections to election fraud and are attempting to block Greene from running again because she was among those who sought to debate the certification of the 2020 presidential Electoral College votes.
The move is permitted by the U.S. Constitution, and has been done by Democrats in the past.
In a legal challenge filed with the Georgia Secretary of State, the voters claim Greene has violated a provision of the U.S. Constitution known as the “Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause.”
The clause, passed after the 19th Century U.S. Civil War, prohibits politicians from running for Congress if they have engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States, or “given aid or comfort” to the nation’s enemies.
The right to peaceful protest is a hallmark of American democracy, as provided in the Bill of Rights, and no one who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 has been charged with insurrection.
Free Speech for People is a Texas-based advocacy group that brought a similar challenge to Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn’s qualifications for office. A federal judge dismissed the Cawthorn case on March 4, but Free Speech for People has urged North Carolina officials to appeal that ruling.
Legal experts have expressed skepticism of Free Speech for People’s arguments.
Derek Muller, a law professor at the University of Iowa, said it would be unconstitutional for Georgia election officials to take Greene off the ballot. The Constitution does not give states the power to assess a congressional candidate’s eligibility for office, reserving that power for Congress, he said.
“Georgia has no jurisdiction to assess a congressional candidate’s eligibility today,” Muller wrote to Reuters in an email. “Even if Ms. Greene were an insurrectionist, Congress has the authority to lift that bar, which it could do at any time before she presents her credentials to Congress next year if she were reelected.”
Greene has been active in protecting the rights of pre-trial defendants who have claimed abuse and political persecution while in prison for more than a year in many cases – some before being officially charged with a crime.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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