News and Analysis

The Growing Effort To Bar GOP Lawmakers From Holding Office

A group of GOP congressmen are facing legal challenges to their ability to hold office following the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Free Speech for People (FSFP), a legal advocacy group, has partnered with Our Revolution, an organization founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), to launch the 14Point3 Campaign, a push to bar GOP lawmakers from holding office for allegedly aiding “insurrectionists” at the Capitol last year. So far, FSFP has filed challenges against five Republican lawmakers, seeking to bar them from reelection.

“This is not just a matter of whether you don’t like a particular politician or their policies or views. This is something that was put in the Constitution to protect us from these types of oath-breaking insurrectionists and make sure that they don’t endanger the country as a whole,” FSFP Legal Director Ron Fein said in January.

Now, FSFP is leading challenges to the reelection campaigns of GOP Reps. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and is also representing Arizona voters challenging the reelection bids of Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Andy Biggs, and state Rep. Mark Finchem.

FSFP claims to be a “non-partisan” group “challenging big money in politics, confronting corruption in government, fighting for free and fair elections, and advancing a new jurisprudence grounded in the promises of political equality and democratic self-government.” In practice, the group has overwhelmingly targeted Republicans, especially former President Donald Trump, with its legal activism. The group also advocates leftist priorities on issues such as “Big Tech” censorship and climate change.

FSFP’s 14Point3 Campaign against the GOP lawmakers seeks to bar them from public office based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which was originally passed to prevent high-ranking Confederate officials from taking public office after the Civil War. The section says:

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, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Last month, Greene testified in a Georgia courtroom over the allegation she supported and aided insurrectionists in storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6 last year. As FSFP’s attorney argued at the opening of the hearing, the evidence brought against Greene is almost entirely “inferential.”

“The way that insurrections are organized nowadays is less in uniforms with military hierarchies and chains of command, less with detailed military plans of battle, and more through social media and the mass media,” FSFP attorney Ron Fein argued, asserting that Greene and other alleged leaders of the insurrection used “coded language” to communicate with their violent followers online.

Greene denied the FSFP’s accusations and regularly testified that she did not recall many of the details surrounding her acts and language on January 6 and the weeks prior. FSFP’s legal team played video and audio clips for the court, which Greene attacked as distorted or misleading.

Greene’s attorney, James Bopp Jr., said that the legal advocacy group was abusing the Constitution in an anti-democratic attempt to remove Greene from office.

“The right to vote is at stake right here right now,” Bopp said. “They want to deny the right to vote to the thousands of people by having Greene removed from the ballot.”

To this point, FSFP’s challenge to Greene’s candidacy is the only legal challenge the group has managed to get into a courtroom. Its other challenges against Cawthorn, Biggs, Gosar, and Finchem have been tied up in legal proceedings or blocked by judges from moving forward.

House Democrats on the January 6 Committee are planning to release the preliminary results of their investigation this summer ahead of midterm elections where Democrats are expected to take a beating at the ballot box. 

A poll by The Federalist and Susquehanna Polling & Research conducted late last month showed the GOP with a 10-point lead over Democrats on the generic ballot, suggesting a wave election and a good chance at Republicans taking back both chambers of Congress.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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