An attempt to oust far-right Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress over her support for the Jan. 6 attack may proceed, a federal judge ruled Monday.
Citing “a whirlwind of constitutional interests of public importance,” Amy Totenberg of the Northern District of Georgia sent the challenge to a state hearing on Friday.
A coalition of liberal groups is behind the challenge against the MP, citing the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, passed after the Civil War.
The amendment says: “No person shall be a senator or representative in Congress, or an elector of the president and vice president, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, which, having previously taken an oath … to support the Constitution of the United States, will have engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against it, or will have aided or comforted its enemies.
Donald Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, seeking to prevent Joe Biden from certifying his defeat. A bipartisan Senate committee linked seven deaths to the riot. About 800 people have been charged, some with seditious conspiracy.
Trump was impeached for inciting the insurrection. He was acquitted when enough Senate Republicans remained loyal and were free to run again.
Event organizers in Washington on Jan. 6 have linked Greene to their efforts. Greene has denied such links and said she does not encourage violence.
In October, however, she told a radio show, “January 6 was just a riot on Capitol Hill and if you think about what our Declaration of Independence says, it says overthrow the tyrants.”
Immediately after the Capitol attack, Greene was one of 147 congressional Republicans opposing the results in key states, an effort fueled by Trump’s lies about voter fraud.
An attempt to use the 14th Amendment to ban North Carolina extremist Madison Cawthorn from Congress failed, after a judge ruled an 1872 Civil War amnesty law was not simply retroactive.
In his decision on Greene’s challenge on Monday, Totenberg said, “This case involves a whirlwind of colliding constitutional interests of public importance. After an in-depth analysis of each of the claims invoked in this case, the court concludes that [Greene] did not carry its burden of persuasion”.
Even if a state judge rules against Greene, she could challenge the decision. Georgia’s primary is on May 25, which cuts the time short. Greene looks likely to be re-elected.
Writing for the Guardian, Georgetown University professor Thomas Zimmer said: “Greene’s position in the Republican Party seems secure…in fact, Greene is the emblematic child of a rising group of radicals from right… [not] coy about their intention to purge any remnants of “moderate” conservatism that may still exist within the Republican Party.
One of the groups behind the challenge to Greene is free speech for the people.
In January, the group’s chief legal officer, Ron Fein, told the Guardian that the group was aiming to draw “a line that says just as the framers of the 14th Amendment wrote and intended, you cannot take an oath to support the constitution and then facilitate an insurrection against the United States while hoping to hold public office.”
He added, “The insurgency has threatened the entire democratic system of our country and placing insurgents from any state in the halls of Congress threatens the entire country.”
On Monday, Fein told CNN, “We look forward to interviewing Rep. Greene about her involvement. [in January 6] under oath.”