Marjorie Taylor Greene cleared for re-election

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is cleared to run for re-election after concurring opinions were issued Friday by Georgia State Judge Charles Beaudrot and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) amid a legal challenge sparked by Greene’s efforts to help overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Beaudrot was assigned to oversee the case, which was brought by a handful of voters in the Greene District, an area northwest of Atlanta. But Raffensperger had the final say on his eligibility under the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who has participated in an insurrection against the government from serving in Congress.

“The challengers have produced insufficient evidence to show that Rep. Greene ‘engaged’ in this insurrection after being sworn in on January 3, 2021,” Beaudrot wrote in a 19-page initial decision.

He wrote later in the document that the challengers had made “a valiant effort to support the findings that Representative Greene was an insurgent”, but said that “the evidence is lacking and the Court is not persuaded”. (Since he couldn’t say if Greene engaged in the riot, Beaudrot declined to say if he agreed the event technically constituted an “insurrection” as defined by the 14th Amendment. .)

Raffensperger agreed with the judge. Acknowledging how unusual the case was, he wrote that “typical candidate challenges … raise questions as to a candidate’s residency or whether they have paid all of their taxes.”

Greene responded to the news on Twitter.

“ACQUIT”, she wrotedespite the fact that no criminal charges were involved.

Free Speech for People, the nonprofit that represented voters challenging Greene, said Friday its attorneys plan to appeal the decision in Georgia Superior Court.

“This decision betrays the fundamental purpose of the insurgent disqualification clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and gives a free pass to political violence as a tool to disrupt and overturn free and fair elections,” the group said in a statement.

Greene testified for more than three hours at a hearing on April 22, saying she didn’t remember much about the build-up to the riot. However, multiple social media videos and interviews released in court showed her claiming that then-President Donald Trump had in fact won the 2020 election and should stay in power. She repeatedly promoted Trump’s rally held shortly before the riot.

The rally, titled “Save America,” was Trump’s latest effort to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory. He called on then-Vice President Mike Pence to disrupt the official Congressional certification process, since the Vice President oversees it. However, the role is largely ceremonial and legal experts agree the vice president has no power to intervene.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wears a “Stop the Steal” mask while speaking with fellow first-term Republican members of Congress on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, DC on January 4, 2021.

SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

The burden of proof lies entirely with Free Speech for People and the five Georgia voters who challenge Greene. Their claim rests on a 14th Amendment provision enacted in the wake of the Civil War amid fears that Confederate supporters would be sent to serve in Washington and undermine the country they fought against.

Greene is not accused of having actively participated in the Capitol riot, as she was among the members of Congress who were evacuated from the building when it was breached by Trump supporters. On the contrary, she is accused of fanning the flames of what has been widely characterized as an attempted insurrection.

“It’s true that Greene didn’t attack police officers herself, but during the Civil War Confederate President Jefferson Davis never fired a shot,” the nonprofit said in its statement. communicated. “The case law under the insurgent disqualification clause is clear that any willful assistance to an insurrection is disqualifying, and the evidence presented in this case has established beyond serious doubt that Greene helped facilitate a gathering of violent extremists for this purpose, as she admitted on video. , to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

On January 5, 2021, the newly sworn MP told her Facebook followers that the next day was to be another “1776”. Some of the Capitol rioters even came dressed in “1776” clothing; the founding year is used by some on the far right to denote a violent uprising against government leaders with whom they disagree.

During his testimony, Greene denied having invoked 1776 to call for violence. She said it represented “courage” to oppose the election results.

In Beaudrot’s view, the commentary on 1776 constituted impassioned political rhetoric and encouragement to protest, but was not a “call to arms for the consummation of a pre-planned violent revolution.”

Greene also denied or said she could not remember a long list of other accusations, including whether she had ever discussed martial law with Trump or his chief of staff at the time, Mark Meadows. Text messages released by CNN days after the hearing revealed that Greene had texted Meadows about the possibility, saying on January 17, 2021, that “several [other members of Congress] say the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call Marshall [sic] right.” Biden was sworn in four days later.

With the May 24 Georgia primary fast approaching, Greene’s name is expected to appear on the ballot; if she is ultimately disqualified, voters will be informed that any votes for her will not be counted.


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