Rep. Greene Sues Georgia Secretary of State to Block Candidacy Review
ATLANTA — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., sued Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Friday to block his review of eligibility to run for Congress in light of her alleged involvement and support of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot in the U.S. Capitol.
“My client is being subjected to an entirely unconstitutional process and one that violates federal law,” said James Bopp Jr., the well-known conservative lawyer who is representing both Greene and Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., who is facing a similar challenge to his candidacy in his own state.
“The liberals and the Democrats think they can have judges and state elections boards wipe candidates off the ballot so voters can’t choose,” Bopp told The Well News. “We’re here to say that’s not true.”
As previously reported in The Well News, voters in Georgia filed a complaint with Raffensperger’s office last week, arguing Greene is “constitutionally disqualified from congressional office.”
The challenge is similar to one filed against Cawthorn in January, which also claimed he’s unqualified to run for reelection based on his involvement in the rally on the White House Ellipse preceding the march on the Capitol.
And in both cases, the voters contend the conservative Republican lawmakers violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that no person “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion … or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
The purpose of the insurrectionist disqualification clause, passed in 1872, was not to punish the oath breaker but rather to protect the country in the aftermath of the Civil War.
During a telephone interview, Bopp said the challenges mounted against Greene and Cawthorn are part of a “nationwide effort” and was “brainstormed” by Marc Elias, the Democratic elections lawyer.
“He and his group of billionaire buddies have already sent a letter to every election board in the nation saying Donald Trump should not be allowed on the ballot in 2024, that he should be disqualified because he is an ‘insurrectionist,’” Bopp said.
“And as far as Congress is concerned, Greene and Cawthorn are only the beginning, because they’ve got a couple of dozen Republican members of Congress they’re targeting, again for their alleged role in Jan. 6,” the attorney said.
“And as I said, this is a coordinated, nationwide, well-funded effort to strip voters of their choice of candidate,” he added.
Bopp explained that Cawthorn’s suit came first only because the filing dates in North Carolina came earlier than those in Georgia.
He also said Greene was forced to turn to the federal court in Atlanta with her request for declaratory and injunctive relief because notice of the challenge against her had been sent “to an old email address.”
“Once we found out about it we had to respond quickly, because their filing set a number of things into motion, including the scheduling of critical filings,” he explained.
Now that a challenge has been filed, Raffensperger is legally required under Georgia law to request a hearing before an administrative law judge to determine whether Greene is qualified for office.
Under Georgia’s candidacy challenge statute, the burden of proof then shifts to the candidate, who must “affirmatively establish [their] eligibility for office.”
“It’s an impossible task,” Bopp said. “How do you prove a negative?”
But even as things stand now, the attorney said, Greene is in a tough fight.
Because notice of the lawsuit was sent to an invalid email address, it was only on Thursday that Greene and her attorney discovered that a response to the original complaint is due Monday at noon.
On top of that, Bopp said, “The voters who have brought the challenge filed a very extensive and totally illegal request for documents that we are also supposed to answer Monday.
“Then they want to depose Greene on [April 11] and have a hearing on [April 13],” he said. “So the federal court needs to act very promptly on this matter, which we think is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment and of Greene’s due process rights,” he said.
“I mean, the way this is set up, all they have to do is have a hearing, and then Greene can be knocked out — and we can’t even begin to raise our constitutional defenses until then,” he said. “That is why the federal court has to act and act now.”
The Well News attempted to contact both Elias and Raffensperger and will update the story as they respond.
Dan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue
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