A federal judge on Monday gave the green light to a coalition of liberal organizations to proceed with their effort to disqualify controversial Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from running for reelection on the basis of allegations that she aided the January 6 insurrectionists. Greene is running for reelection in Georgia.
As a result of the decision, a scheduled hearing before a Georgia state judge will take place as scheduled on Friday morning, as previously announced. That court will hear arguments from both sides and will ultimately determine whether Greene is barred from holding public office under the Constitution’s “disqualification clause.” The provision, which dates back to the Civil War, states that officeholders who assist an insurrection are barred from holding that position again.
Marge is fuming tonight about the lawsuit to disqualify her from the ballot as an insurrectionist: “The progressives .. they’re filing a lawsuit because they’re trying to rip my name off of the ballot and steal my district!” pic.twitter.com/wFhurFS8yA
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) April 19, 2022
According to District Judge Amy Totenberg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, “this case includes a vortex of competing constitutional interests of public consequence.” According to the Court, following a comprehensive examination of each of the claims stated in this action, [Greene] has failed to meet her burden of persuasion with respect to this fundamental and vital prerequisite to [Greene’s] demonstration of right to injunctive relief.”
It is possible that Totenberg’s decision will have consequences well beyond Greene and her reelection campaign in Georgia. There are similar constitutional challenges ongoing against other Republican leaders, and a challenge against former President Donald Trump if he decides to run for president again in 2024 might be filed against him as well.
Liberal activists and legal advocacy groups who spearheaded the anti-Greene campaign have won a significant victory, albeit they are still a long way from having her removed from the Republican primary ballot. If a state judge recommends that Greene be disqualified, she can submit an appeal, and the matter may not be determined until the ballots for the May 25 primary election are printed.
“Any elected official who aided the insurrection is disqualified from public office, and we look forward to questioning Representative Greene about her involvement under oath,” said Ron Fein, the legal director of Free Speech for People, a legal advocacy group that is supporting the challengers. “The Constitution disqualifies any elected official who aided the insurrection from public office,” Fein added.
So far, two Republican members of Congress have filed federal lawsuits in an attempt to halt January 6-related candidacy challenges, with varying degrees of success. Totenberg, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, allowed the constitutional claim against Greene to proceed. Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn was removed from the ballot in a similar effort, but Judge Richard Myers of the Eastern District of North Carolina, a Trump appointment, stopped the attempt.
They claim that Greene colluded with demonstrators on January 6 and promoted violence with her militant speech, including one comment in which she expressly said that she opposed a peaceful transfer of power. Greene has not responded to the voters’ request for disqualification. She has denied any misconduct, stated that she rejects political violence, and asserted that the attempt to remove her from office was an unlawful witch hunt.
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