Group hopes to use Constitution’s ban on ‘insurrectionists’ to disqualify Greene

A group has filed a candidacy challenge against U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the ballot, alleging that her actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol should disqualify her from holding office. Greene has said she played no role in the attack on the Capitol. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

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A group has filed a candidacy challenge against U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the ballot, alleging that her actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol should disqualify her from holding office. Greene has said she played no role in the attack on the Capitol. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

A similar challenge regarding a North Carolina lawmaker has been quashed

A group of Georgia voters has filed a challenge to U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s reelection bid, saying her actions leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack should disqualify her from holding office.

The candidacy challenge appears to be a long shot as far as keeping the Rome Republican off the ballot in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, but the main goal appears to be compelling her to testify under oath about her actions in the days and weeks leading up to the riot.

Greene has said she had no role in the attack on the Capitol, and no evidence has been published to date by law enforcement or congressional committees linking her to it.

The group that filed the challenge, the self-described pro-democracy organization Free Speech For People, and its partners say their goal is to prevent elected officials they believe facilitated the Jan. 6 insurrection from seeking or holding office, including former President Donald Trump.

“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,” Free Speech For People Legal Director Ron Fein said in a news release. “The Constitution disqualifies from public office any elected officials who aided the insurrection, and we look forward to asking Representative Greene about her involvement under oath.”

The Georgia secretary of state’s office, when it receives a challenge such as this, sends it to the Georgia office of state administrative hearings to make recommendations on how to proceed. The secretary of state’s office will review the recommendations and decide a course of action.

Free Speech For People is also behind a similar challenge filed earlier this year regarding North Carolina U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn.

A federal judge prevented that case from proceeding, ruling earlier this month that the provision cited as potentially disqualifying was meant only to apply to members of Congress who fought in the Confederate army and hoped to return to their posts after the Civil War. The judge’s ruling prevented North Carolina’s election board from subpoenaing Cawthorn or investigating the case, but appeals are pending.

Greene said the initial ruling in that case shows the challenge is flimsy and nothing more than a political attack by those who dislike her and her conservative views. She also said she did not have a role in the Capitol riot.

“I’ve never encouraged political violence and never will,” Greene said.

The challenge to her candidacy was filed to Georgia’s secretary of state’s office and cites Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says that no person who was sworn into Congress can remain in that role if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

This provision of the Constitution has not been used in modern history.

Greene was among the lawmakers evacuated from the House chamber after the Capitol was breached and condemned the attacks that day. More recently, however, she has focused more on what she views as mistreatment by the judicial system of the dozens of people charged with participating in the breach. Greene has also spread misinformation and conspiracy theories about what happened on Jan. 6.

ExploreGeorgia Republicans change their tone about Jan. 6 riot at U.S. Capitol

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