Georgia Voters File Complaint in Bid to Toss Marjorie Taylor Greene From Ballot
ATLANTA — A group of voters has filed a complaint with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office arguing that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is “constitutionally disqualified from congressional office” and must be blocked from seeking reelection due to her involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
“Greene repeatedly advocated for political violence, up to and including her encouragement of insurrectionists on Jan. 6, ,” the voters’ complaint says.
The representative has responded in an email to The Well News saying, “This is the same evil playbook the dishonest Communist Democrats use against President Trump and his family.
“Now they are using it on me, because they know I’m effective and will not bow to the D.C. machine responsible for $30 TRILLION in debt, a national security crisis at the border, and out of control skyrocketing inflation, gas prices, and crime,” Greene continued. “I’ll never stop fighting for the good people of Northwest Georgia.”
She then added: “As I’ve said many times before, I’m vehemently opposed to all forms of political violence including Black Lives Matter terror attacks that were funded by Kamala Harris and Ilhan Omar on the Democrat fundraising platform, ActBlue. I’ve never encouraged political violence and never will.”
The challenge is similar to one filed against Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., 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.
In both cases the voters are represented by Free Speech For People, a nonpartisan, nonprofit legal advocacy organization with constitutional law expertise, which is serving as co-lead counsel in the matter, along with New York-based Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP.
Bryan Sells, an Atlanta-based civil rights lawyer specializing in voting rights and election law, is serving as local counsel in Georgia.
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 oathbreaker but rather to protect the country in the aftermath of the Civil War.
No criminal conviction or prior adjudication is required under the insurrectionist disqualification clause, although Greene and Cawthorn would be able to seek judicial review of an adverse decision.
Now that a challenge has been filed, Georgia Secretary of State Brad 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.”
The voters intend to issue subpoenas to Greene and take her deposition under oath — something that the U.S. House Jan. 6 Select Committee has not yet done.
They believe they have a lot to talk to the representative about.
Specifically, they contend, the evidence shows that Greene either helped to plan the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, or alternatively helped to plan the pre-attack demonstration and/or march on the Capitol with knowledge that it was substantially likely to lead to the attack, and otherwise voluntarily aided the insurrection.
They base some of their claims on an October Rolling Stone article, citing reports from organizers of the pre-attack demonstration.
In the weeks leading up to the siege on the Capitol, the voters allege, Greene publicly stated that violence might be necessary to keep Trump in power, calling the date “our 1776 moment.”
This, the voters contend, is a “code word” used by violent extremists to refer to an attack on government buildings.
They also quote Greene as saying in a video, “You can’t allow it to just transfer power ‘peacefully’ like Joe Biden wants and allow him to become our president because he did not win this election. He’s guilty of treason. It’s a crime punishable by death is what treason is. Nancy Pelosi is guilty of treason.”
Shortly after she released that video, insurrectionists attacked the U.S. Capitol, seeking to block a peaceful transfer of power and calling for the death of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif., and other officials, the voters claim.
But Greene’s support of the insurrection didn’t stop there, the voters said. They assert that the representative has repeatedly attempted to defend the attack on the Capitol as justified by the Declaration of Independence, calling convicted participants in the insurrections “political prisoners of war” and falsely claiming that the violence at the Capitol was perpetrated by “antifa” infiltrators or the FBI.
“It’s rare for any conspirator, let alone a member of Congress, to publicly admit that the goals of their actions are preventing a peaceful transfer of power and the death of the president-elect and speaker of the House, but that’s exactly what Marjorie Taylor Greene did,” said Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, in a written statement. “The Constitution disqualifies from public office any elected officials who aided the insurrection, and we look forward to asking … Greene about her involvement under oath.”
Meanwhile in North Carolina, a group of voters claim Cawthorn, a speaker at the Jan. 6, 2021, rally on the Ellipse, “urged his followers to threaten and intimidate” members of Congress, adding that he or his staff were also “in close contact with rally organizers.”
Shortly after the complaint was filed, Cawthorn blasted the attempt to prevent him from running for reelection on Twitter, saying, “Left-wing activists are trying to stop me from fighting for YOU THE PEOPLE.
“I won’t be stopped,” Cawthorn vowed. “Help me fight back!”
On March 4, a federal judge in North Carolina issued an injunction blocking the North Carolina State Board of Elections from hearing the challenge on the grounds that an 1872 law was intended as a vehicle to provide amnesty to former Confederates and did not apply to Cawthorn.
Rep. Greene pointed to this decision as proof the complaint against her will go nowhere.
“A judge has already thrown out the exact same lawsuit against Madison Cawthorne filed by the same dishonest lawyers,” she wrote in her email.
The voters in North Carolina filed an expedited appeal with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and, on March 17, the appellate court issued an order retaining jurisdiction of the appeal and remanding the matter to the district court to rule, in the first instance, on the voters’ refiled motion to intervene.
That action is still pending.
Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue
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