Greene is eligible for re-election; Raffensperger gets last word – CBS Tampa

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia judge ruled Friday that U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is qualified to run for re-election. But the decision is ultimately up to Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Before making his decision, Charles Beaudrot, the state administrative judge, held a day-long hearing in April that included arguments from attorneys for voters and for Greene, as well as extensive interrogations of Greene himself. He also received an extensive briefing from both sides.

READ MORE: Severe storms in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic threaten more than 70 million people

Under state law, Beaudrot must present his findings to Raffensperger, who must decide whether Greene should be removed from the vote.

Raffensperger is being challenged by a Trump-backed candidate in this month’s GOP primaries and would likely face huge backlash from right-wing voters if he disagreed with Beaudrot’s finding.

A Raffensperger spokesperson said in an email that the Secretary of State had received Beaudrot’s recommendation and “will release his final decision shortly”.

The eligibility challenge for Greene was filed by voters who allege the GOP congresswoman played a key role in the Jan. 6, 2021 riots that disrupted Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. That puts her in violation of a rarely invoked part of the 14th Amendment dealing with insurrection and makes her ineligible for re-election, they argue.

During the April 22 hearing on the challenge, Ron Fein, an attorney for the voters who filed the challenge, noted that in a TV interview the day before the attack on the United States Capitol, “our 1776- time would be”. Voter attorneys said some supporters of then-President Donald Trump used that reference to the American Revolution as an incitement to violence.

“In fact, it turned out to be a moment from 1861,” Fein said, referring to the start of the Civil War.

Greene is a conservative conman and Trump ally who has become one of the largest GOP fundraisers in Congress by stirring controversy and spreading baseless conspiracy theories. At the recent hearing, Greene was questioned under oath. She echoed the unfounded claim that widespread fraud led to Trump’s loss in the 2020 election, said she did not remember several incendiary statements and social media posts attributed to her and denied ever supporting violence.

Greene admitted she had encouraged a rally to support Trump, but she said she was not aware of any plans to storm the Capitol or forcibly disrupt the electoral count. Greene said she feared for her safety during the riots and used social media posts to encourage people to feel safe and stay calm.

READ MORE: Restaurants see big crowds for Cinco De Mayo

The challenge to her eligibility is based on a section of the 14th Amendment that says no one may serve in Congress “who, having previously sworn an oath, as a member of Congress … to enact the Constitution of the United States.” support, will have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” It was ratified shortly after the Civil War and was, in part, intended to prevent representatives who had fought for the Confederacy from returning to Congress.

Greene “urged, encouraged and helped facilitate violent resistance to our own government, our democracy and our constitution,” Fein said, concluding, “She was involved in insurgency.”

James Bopp, an attorney for Greene, argued that his client engaged in protected political speech and was himself the victim of the attack on the Capitol and not a participant.

Beaudrot wrote that there is no evidence that Greene participated in the attack on the Capitol or that she communicated with or gave instructions to those involved.

“Whatever the exact parameters of the meaning of ‘engage’ as used in the 14th Amendment, and assuming the invasion was an insurrection, Challengers have provided insufficient evidence to show that Rep. Greene was ‘involved’ in that uprising after she took the oath of office on January 3, 2021,” he wrote.

Greene’s “public statements and heated rhetoric” may have contributed to the environment that led to the attack, Beaudrot wrote, but her statements are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech and express such political views, “however dissenting They also are ‘Before she was sworn in as a member of Congress, that doesn’t amount to insurrection.

The challenge of Greene’s eligibility for re-election was submitted by five voters residing in her district, and the procedure for such challenge is set out in Georgian law. Beaudrot’s decision is not binding on Raffensperger, who must determine whether Green is qualified to run for re-election.

Once Raffensperger has made his decision, both parties will have 10 days to appeal to the Fulton County Superior Court. Raffensperger faces a primary challenge in the May 24 vote after he refused to bow to pressure from Trump to undo Joe Biden’s Georgia victory. Raffensperger has condemned the attack on the Capitol, writing in his book that he found it “deeply reprehensible” that “people are now trying to minimize what happened on January 6.”

The complaint in Georgia was filed by Free Speech for People, a national election and campaign finance reform group, on behalf of the five voters. The group filed similar challenges in Arizona and North Carolina.

MORE NEWS: Locals ‘Climb For Air’ to Support Pulmonary Disease Awareness in Tampa Bay

Greene has filed a federal lawsuit against the legitimacy of the law voters are using to keep her from voting. That suit is being processed.

Leave a Comment