A federal judge on Monday cleared the way for a group of Georgia voters to press ahead with legal efforts to disqualify Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from reelection to Congress, citing her role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
The attempted disqualification is based on a constitutional provision passed after the Civil War that prohibits members of the Confederation from holding office. It mirrors several other cases involving Republican members of Congress, whose roles leading up to and during the deadly riots have drawn strong criticism.
The judge, Amy Totenberg, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by President Barack Obama, turned down Ms. Greene’s request for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order in the high-profile legal feud.
Ms. Greene, 47, who is known for her unwavering loyalty to former President Donald J. Trump and for her clashes with Democrats, has steadfastly denied having aided and implicated in the attack on the Capitol.
In the 73-page ruling, Judge Totenberg wrote that Ms. Greene had failed to meet the “burden of persuasion” in her preliminary injunction request, which she called an extraordinary and drastic remedy.
“This case involves a maelstrom of conflicting constitutional interests of the public interest,” Judge Totenberg wrote. “The novelty of the factual and historical situation of this case – especially when assessed in the context of a preliminary injunction that has been swiftly reviewed – has made the resolution of the complex legal issues at stake here particularly demanding. “
James Bopp Jr., an attorney for Ms. Greene, said Monday night the ruling was flawed and minimized the adverse effect the disqualification effort had on Ms. Greene’s right to run for office.
“This is fundamentally anti-democratic,” said Mr. Bopp, who insisted that Ms. Greene “publicly and vigorously condemned the attack on the Capitol.”
He called the effort to remove her from the vote as part of a well-funded nationwide effort to strip voters of candidates of their choice, with elections determined by “bureaucrats, judges, lawyers and clever legal arguments”.
In her request for a court order, Ms. Greene argued that it would be impossible to fully resolve the matter before Georgia holds its primaries on May 24. Absentee ballots will be sent out on April 25, according to Ms. Greene’s motion.
In the ruling, Judge Totenberg ruled that Ms. Greene had failed to prove that there was a high probability that she would prevail on the basis of her legal claims. A state judge will hear the case on Friday.
Judge Totenberg’s decision contrasted sharply with a recent ruling in a similar case involving Representative Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina. By blocking that attempt at disqualification, U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II, a Mr. Trump appointee, ruled that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment applied strictly to members of the Confederacy after the Civil War.
Greene’s critics have said that in public comments leading up to the Capitol riots, she often referred to attempts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election as “our moment of 1776.” They claim the sentence was a code used to incite violence, referencing the third part of the 14th Amendment in their argument for removing her from the vote.
That section says that “no one” will serve as a member of Congress or hold civilian office if they have been involved in insurgency or rebellion after having “previously taken an oath, either as a member of Congress or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of a state legislature, or as an executive or bailiff of a state.”
The Aftermath of Capitol Riot: Key Developments
Debating a criminal referral. The Jan. 6 commission has become divided over whether former President Donald J. Trump should be criminally referred to the Justice Department, even though it has concluded that she has sufficient evidence to do so. The debate revolves around whether a referral would backfire by politically sullying the expanding federal investigation.
The constitutional challenge to Ms. Greene’s candidacy, filed with the Georgia Secretary of State last month, argued that Ms. Greene had helped plan the attack on the Capitol or knew that a demonstration staged by Mr. Trump and his supporters at the National Mall would escalate to violence.
The group hearing the case is represented by Free Speech for People, a non-partisan, non-profit legal advocacy organization with constitutional expertise, which was also involved in the case involving Mr. Cawthorn.
Ron Fein, the legal director of Free Speech for People, announced the ruling in an email to DailyExpertNews Monday night.
Judge Totenberg’s well-reasoned opinion explains why the Georgia voters who filed this challenge against Greene have a right to be heard about their challenge, and why none of Greene’s objections to the State of Georgia challenge has any value. said Mr Fein. “At Friday’s hearing, we look forward to questioning Greene under oath about her involvement in the events of January 6, as well as demonstrating how her assistance in the insurgency disqualifies her from public office under the US Constitution.”
Last year the House removed Ms. Greene from the Education and Budget Committees for condoning the executions of Democrats and spreading dangerous and bigoted misinformation. The move — supported by the majority of Democrats and opposed almost unanimously by Republicans — reduced Ms. Greene’s influence in the chamber.
In January, Twitter permanently suspended Ms. Greene’s personal account after the company said she had breached her account Misinformation Policy about Covid-19† Ms Greene had tweeted falsehoods about “extremely high numbers of deaths from Covid vaccines”.
More recently, Mrs. Greene filed a threat report with the Capitol Police Department after host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel mocked her in a monologue late at night. When Mr. Kimmel talked about Ms. Greene’s repulsion to three Republican senators who voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, he said: “Wow, where’s Will Smith when you really need him?”