Constitutional Law

Bid to block Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from ballot fails after state judge rules in her favor

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Marjorie Taylor Greene

Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia speaks with attendees at the 2021 AmericaFest at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix. Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

An administrative law judge in Georgia ruled Friday that there is insufficient evidence to show that Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia engaged in insurrection, dealing a defeat to challengers who claimed that the U.S. Constitution banned her reelection.

Judge Charles R. Beaudrot ruled against a group of Georgia voters who claimed that Greene couldn’t hold office under the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause, which bans elected representatives in Congress who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or aided the enemy.

CNN, Reuters and the New York Times are among the publications with coverage.

The voters had contended that Greene’s comments in advance of the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot showed her support for the riot. She had encouraged supporters to go to Washington, D.C., saying in an interview that the day would be “our 1776 moment.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger affirmed the administrative law judge’s findings Friday and said Greene could appear on the ballot.

“In this case, challengers assert that Rep. Greene’s political statements and actions disqualify her from office. That is rightfully a question for the voters of Georgia’s 14th Congressional District,” he said in his final decision.

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Beaudrot ruled after U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg of the Northern District of Georgia refused to interfere with the election challenge after Greene sought an injunction to stop the proceedings, according to prior coverage by CBS News.

Beaudrot noted that Greene released a video during the riot urging supporters to remain calm and have a peaceful protest.

“This is not a time for violence,” Greene had said.

And there is no evidence that Greene directed or assisted anyone planning the riot, Beaudrot said.

Greene did engage in “months of heated political rhetoric,” which could have contributed to the environment that led to the riot, Beaudrot said. “But expressing constitutionally protected political views, no matter how aberrant they may be, … is not engaging in insurrection under the 14th Amendment.”

The voters who sought to keep Greene of the ballot were represented by Free Speech for People. In a May 6 statement, the group said it would appeal the decision to the Georgia superior court.

See also: “Supreme Court emphasizes what DC Circuit didn’t decide as it allows release of Trump records” “ABA president condemns mob assault on Capitol as Rep. Gohmert asks SCOTUS to stop Pence” “SCOTUS won’t review Trump’s bid to block release of documents to Jan. 6 House committee” “Lawyer lost his job, his fiancee and his friends after presence outside Capitol riot” “Former Chapman law prof who wrote ‘coup memo’ faces ethics probe, state bar confirms” “Bragging-defendant defense fails in first Capitol riot trial; is obstruction charge at risk?” “Lawyer is accused of climbing down wall, entering Capitol during Jan. 6 riot”

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