ATLANTA (AP) — U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene attended a hearing Friday in Atlanta on a protest filed by voters who say she shouldn’t be allowed to run for re-election because she helped facilitate the capitol attack who disrupted Joe Biden’s certification presidential victory.
The challenge filed last month says the Republican congresswoman is ineligible to run under a provision of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, alleging she aided and engaged in an insurrection to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power on January 6, 2021.
Greene has repeatedly denied aiding or participating in an insurrection and has filed a complaint alleging that the law voters are using to challenge his eligibility is itself unconstitutional. She is expected to appear on the Republican ballot for Georgia’s May 24 primary and was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Republican U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz, a staunch Trump ally, was also present at Friday’s hearing.
In a statement Thursday, Trump falsely accused Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, of allowing the challenge against Greene, saying she was “going through hell in their attempt to overthrow it”.
In fact, the challenge to Greene’s eligibility to run for office was filed by five voters who live in his district, and the procedure for such a challenge is outlined in Georgia law.
The law states that any voter eligible to vote for a candidate may challenge that candidate’s qualifications by filing a written complaint with the Secretary of State within two weeks of the qualification deadline. The Secretary of State must then request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
After the hearing, the administrative judge must present his findings to Raffensperger, who must then determine whether Greene is qualified.
Raffensperger and Kemp both drew Trump’s ire shortly after the 2020 election when they refused to take action to undo Trump’s narrow loss in the state. They both face major challenges from Trump-endorsed candidates.
The 14th Amendment states that no one may serve in Congress “who, having previously been sworn in, as a member of Congress.” . . in support of the Constitution of the United States, has engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against it”. Ratified shortly after the Civil War, it was intended to prevent representatives who had fought for the Confederacy from returning to Congress.
In their complaint, voters cited tweets and statements by Greene before, during and after the riot. The complaint states that Greene helped plan the riot and/or demonstration and march on the Capitol that preceded it, knowing that it was “substantially likely to lead to attack, and otherwise willfully aided the ‘insurrection”.
Greene filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month asking a judge to declare unconstitutional the law allowing voters to challenge a candidate’s qualifications and bar state officials from enforcing it. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg in Atlanta on Monday refused a request of Greene to halt the challenge process while the trial unfolds. Green is attractive this decision.
The Georgia complaint was filed on behalf of voters by Free Speech for People, a national election and campaign finance reform group. The group filed a similar challenge on behalf of voters in western North Carolina against Republican U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who spoke at the rally ahead of the riot.
Cawthorn sued US District Judge Richard Myers last month blocked the challenge filed with the state Election Commission to move forward, writing that laws passed by Congress in 1872 and 1898 mean the 14th Amendment section cannot apply to current members of the House. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the litigation early next month, two weeks before Cawthorn’s primary election.
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