“Judge Beaudrot issued his Initial Decision on May 6, 2022, finding that Challengers have failed to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence and that Respondent is qualified to be a candidate for Representative for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Judge Beaudrot’s Initial Decision and Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law are hereby adopted,” Raffensperger said in his decision.
A group of Georgia voters launched a legal effort to disqualify Greene from running for re-election because of her alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
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Greene, 47, had been accused of frequently using language to incite violence at the US Capitol, including referring to efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election as “our 1776 moment.” The conservative lawmaker denies that she played a role in the event, which led to the deaths of five people and injuries to 140 members of law enforcement.
While testifying in April about her alleged role in the attack, Greene said she could not remember whether she urged then-President Donald Trump to impose martial law as a way to remain in power.
“I don’t recall,” the lawmaker said in response to questioning by an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case.
Free Speech for People, a national election and campaign finance reform group, filed the challenge in March with the Georgia secretary of state’s office, alleging that Greene, who has built a reputation as one of Trump’s most fervent supporters, helped facilitate the violent insurrection aimed at preventing Congress from confirming Joe Biden’s win.
The organization expressed its disappointment in the judge’s ruling, calling it a betrayal of the 14th Amendment.
“This decision betrays the fundamental purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause and gives a pass to political violence as a tool for disrupting and overturning free and fair elections,” the organization said in a statement Friday. “We urge Secretary Raffensperger to take a fresh look at the evidence presented in the case and reject the judge’s recommendation. Marjorie Taylor Greene helped facilitate the January 6 insurrection, and under the Constitution, she is disqualified from future office.”
The challenge claimed that Greene’s actions violated a provision of the 14th Amendment and thus made her ineligible to run for re-election.
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The rarely cited provision states that no one can serve in Congress “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.”
The amendment was ratified shortly after the Civil War. The provision in question was meant to prevent lawmakers who fought for the Confederacy from being reelected to Congress.
Any Georgia voter eligible to vote for a candidate can challenge that candidate’s qualifications by filing a written complaint within two weeks after the deadline for qualifying, according to state law. The secretary of state has to notify the candidate of the challenge before requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge. The judge goes on to hold a hearing before presenting findings to the secretary of state, who then determines whether the candidate is qualified.