A Georgia administrative judge has rejected a challenge to Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s eligibility to appear on the ballot for re-election by a group of voters who’d argued she had engaged in insurrection in the days leading up to the 6 January 2021 attack on the Capitol.
Administrative Law Judge Charles Beaudrot on Friday said Ms Greene, a first-term Republican, should be permitted to run for second term after hearing arguments from Ms Greene’s attorney and lawyers representing a group of Georgia voters, backed by the good government group Free Speech for People.
The group had argued that a section of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution — which barred persons who’d supported the southern states that had rebelled against Washington to protect slavery during the American Civil War from serving in the US government — can be invoked against GOP members who supported former president Donald Trump’s efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election.
In a written opinion, he said the evidence presented was “insufficient” to establish that Ms Greene had “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the US or had given those who did “aid and comfort”.
“As this is the sole basis for Challengers’ suit, the Court concludes that Rep. Greene is qualified to be a candidate for Representative for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District,” he added.
Under Georgia law, he will submit his findings to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who will ultimately decide if Ms Greene will appear on the ballot.
Ms Greene testified on her own behalf for several hours during the 22 April hearing, during which she was forced to admit that she’d called for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be executed for what she described as “treason”.
She also told the administrative judge she was unable to recall whether she’d discussed calling for Mr Trump to invoke martial law to prevent Joe Biden from taking office.
Shortly after she testified, CNN reported that Ms Greene had sent a text to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in which she said members of Congress were discussing the possibility of martial law in a private group chat.
In a statement, Free Speech for People said the judge’s ruling “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 case law under the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause is clear that any voluntary assistance to an insurrection is disqualifying, and the evidence presented in this case established beyond serious question that Greene helped facilitate an assemblage of violent extremists for the purpose, as she admitted on video , of preventing the peaceful transfer of power,” they said. “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.”
With additional reporting by agencies