Expands legal effort to disqualify Republicans as ‘rebelists’

The attack on the Capitol expanded on Thursday, a legal effort to disqualify re-elected lawmakers who attended events around January 6, 2021, when a group of voters and a progressive group against three elected officials in Arizona Filed a suit to ban them under 14th. Revision by running again.

In three separate candidacy challenges filed in Superior Court in Maricopa County, Arizona, voters and the progressive group, Free Speech for People, targeted Reps. Paul Goser and Andy Biggs and State Representative Mark Finchem, who is running for Arizona’s Secretary of State. Support for former President Donald Trump.

It was unclear whether the challenges would go anywhere; An initial skirmish, led by People for Free Speech, failed to block the candidacy of Rep. Madison Cawthorne in North Carolina. But they were the latest bids to find a way to punish members of Congress who encouraged or shared with those who stormed the Capitol on January 6.

In all three lawsuits, the plaintiffs claim that the politician is disqualified from seeking office because his support for the rioters who attacked the Capitol made him a “rebel” under the Constitution and therefore barred him under the little-known third section of the 14th Amendment. Went. To punish the members of the union during the reconstruction.

That clause declares that “no person” shall hold “any office, civil or military” under the United States of America, or under any State which has previously taken an oath to “support the Constitution”, Then “was indulging in rebellion or rebellion against him, or given aid or comfort to his enemies.”

A separate action is being taken by the Democratic-aligned Super PAC against Sen. Ron Johnson and Reps Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald, all Wisconsin Republicans.

And on Friday, a federal judge in Atlanta will hear Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s attempt to dismiss a case filed to strike her off the ballot in Georgia. Unless the judge, Amy Totenberg of the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, issues a temporary restraining order, an administrative law judge is set to hear arguments next Wednesday on whether Green should be removed from the ballot.

Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech for People, said the effort was putting pressure on the Justice Department and the House committee to take action against individual members of Congress and investigate the January 6 attack to find remedies in court.

“Our goal is to reach a decision by a competent state tribunal, which can certainly be appealed at the highest level if necessary, that these individuals are indeed ineligible under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment,” he said. “These are even stronger cases. We are not going after those who have deep links with the rebellion.”

James Bopp Jr., a conservative election lawyer who is defending Green and Cawthorne, said the group could eventually take action against two dozen Republican lawmakers, hoping to try to stop Trump from voting for president in 2024. set some legal precedent for And with enough test cases, anyone can be successful.

“Judges make a difference,” he said.

Gosar, Biggs and Finchem did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The legal battle in the cases has come down to two questions: what is a rebel, and whether Congress in 1872 granted amnesty not only to those who supported and fought for the Union, but also to those who participated in future rebellions. Will it effectively repeal Section 3?

In Cawthorne’s case, a Trump-appointed federal judge blocked an investigation into the Congressman’s role in the January 6 attack by ruling that the Amnesty Act of 1872 did in fact grant amnesty to all future rebels.

The judge, Richard E. Myers II, focused on a caveat within Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which stated that “Congress can remove the disqualification—or “disability”—for rebellion by a two-thirds vote of each House.” The Amnesty Act was passed with such a huge margin.

That decision remains in dispute and is on appeal.

“A waiver of disability is the functional equivalent of a pardon,” Gerard N. Maglioca, Indiana University Robert H. A constitutional law professor at the McKinney School of Law, who has studied the rebellion clause. “Pardons by the President or the Governors cannot be for the future. You cannot license future illegality.”

Lawyers who brought the new trial believe they have a strong case to show that the elected officials in question are rebels.

By January 6, Gosar and Biggs had repeatedly posted the lie that Trump had won the election. Goser organized some early rallies for “Stop the Steal,” the movement to keep Trump in office, Ali Alexander, a far-right activist, and coordinated with FinChem.

On December 22, 2020, Gosar and Biggs met with Trump and announced that they were working to prevent “disinformation” of Trump voters.

“This treason will be stopped,” Gosar wrote on Twitter.

Finchem took part in the rally in Ellipse on 6 January which launched the attack in several ways. He said he was in Washington to provide evidence to Vice President Mike Pence about fraud in the Arizona election. Finchem then joined the protesters who marched to the Capitol and eventually breached it, although they did not enter the building.

And during the storming of the Capitol, Goser used the social media site Parlor, which is on the far side, to post an image of rioters scaling the building’s walls saying, “Americans are upset. ” As the riot broke out, Gosar and Biggs lead their state’s effort to get voters to fight for Joe Biden.

Goser would later say that Ashley Babitt, the rioter shot by police just outside the House Chamber, was “executed” and that the January 6 investigation was “disturbing the Peaceful Patriots.”

The suit says his actions, “in conjunction with others,” establish that he “engaged in the January 6 uprising” and is “therefore constitutionally disqualified from running for Congress under the disqualification clause.”

Fein said the legal action was working with the House committee investigating the January 6 attack and the Justice Department to at least allow lawmakers to answer questions under oath about the events surrounding the riots. The House committee is still facing witnesses who have refused to comply with the summons.

Amid efforts to question Trump aides and advisers, the panel has not come close to questioning members of the House. A grand jury convened by federal prosecutors must scrutinize dozens of lower-level witnesses before moving on to larger goals.

But conservative election lawyers are becoming frustrated with what they see as legally specific harassment driven by Democrats’ failure to vote conservatives out of office. He argues that the Amnesty Act abolished the disqualification of the rebellion; that under the Constitution, only Congress can set the criteria for candidature; And that attempts to object to Biden’s election were made legally in accordance with the Electoral Counts Act of 1887.

“All these attempts and threats are a desperate attempt to gain political mileage through unconstitutional actions,” Hans von Spakowski, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, wrote in an opinion essay last month. “They are a waste of time and resources and should be dismissed as such.”

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