OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A collective of left-wing groups are stepping up legal efforts to block a number of Republican lawmakers from running for reelection over their participation in a pre-Jan. 6 Capitol riot rally held by then-President Donald Trump.
The groups are arguing that the GOP lawmakers are “insurrectionists” who took part in a ‘rebellion’ and thus, under the Constitution, are ineligible to serve in elective office.
“Free Speech For People filed lawsuits on behalf of voters in Arizona’s Maricopa County that challenge the eligibility for the office of GOP Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, and state Rep. Mark Finchem,” the Washington Times reported Friday. “Mr. Gosar and Mr. Biggs are running for reelection in November. Mr. Finchem is running for secretary of state with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.”
The paper adds:
The suits say the lawmakers should be barred from seeking office because of their support for the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, citing the 14th Amendment.
The third section of the amendment says that “no person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States” who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”
The lawsuits follow similar suits the same group filed targeting Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina.
Greene is currently seeking to have the case against her dismissed. Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Richard Myers II, who was appointed by Trump, blocked an effort last month to bar Cawthorn from running again in North Carolina, ruling that the Amnesty Act of 1872 granted amnesty to Confederate and future insurrectionists.
Rob Fein, legal director for Free Speech For People, said that the argument doesn’t hold up to legal scrutiny.
“That ruling hasn’t been defended by anyone,” Fein said of the Cawthorn. “The facts are very strong in these cases that Gosar, Biggs and Finchem were heavily involved in not only the effort to introduce fake slates of electors but also involved in the violent extremist groups that gathered at the Capitol.”
In fact, those lawmakers simply objected to electors from certain states following the 2020 election that had changed election laws and rules prior to voting, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, according to their arguments.
Also, according to a Newsweek fact check, more Democrats objected to electors from more states in 2016 when Trump won:
According to a C-SPAN recording of the joint session that took place four years ago, the following House Democrats made objections:
-Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) objected to Alabama’s votes.
-Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) objected to Florida’s votes.
-Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) objected to Georgia’s votes.
-Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) objected to North Carolina’s votes.
-Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) objected to the votes from North Carolina in addition to votes from South Carolina and Wisconsin. She also stood up and objected citing “massive voter suppression” after Mississippi’s votes were announced.
-Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) brought up allegations of Russian interference in the election and malfunctioning voting machines when she objected following the announcement of Michigan’s votes.
-Maxine Waters (D-Calif) rose and said, “I do not wish to debate. I wish to ask ‘Is there one United States senator who will join me in this letter of objection?’” after the announcement of Wyoming’s votes.
For an objection to be considered, it must be submitted in writing and signed by a member of both the House and Senate. Because no senators signed onto the objections made by House Democrats in 2017, then-Vice President Biden by law denied all of the objections, repeatedly saying “there is no debate.”