ATLANTA (AP) — A judge in Georgia on Friday found that U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is qualified to run for reelection, concluding that a group of voters who had challenged her eligibility failed to prove she engaged in insurrection after taking office. But the decision will ultimately be up to Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Before reaching his decision, state Administrative Law Judge Charles Beaudrot held a daylong hearing in April that included arguments from lawyers for the voters and for Greene, as well as extensive questioning of Greene herself. He also received extensive briefing from both sides.
State law says Beaudrot must submit his findings to Raffensperger, who has to decide whether Greene should be removed from the ballot.
Raffensperger is being challenged by a Trump-backed candidate in this month’s GOP primary and would likely face huge blowback from right-wing voters if he was to disagree 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 soon.”
The challenge to Greene’s eligibility was filed by voters who allege the GOP congresswoman played a significant role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot that disrupted Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. That puts her in violation of a seldom-invoked part of the 14th Amendment having to do with insurrection and makes her ineligible to run for reelection, they argue.
During the April 22 hearing on the challenge, Ron Fein, a lawyer for the voters who filed the challenge, noted that in a TV interview the day before the attack at the U.S. Capitol, Greene said the next day would be “our 1776 moment.” Lawyers for the voters said some supporters of then-President Donald Trump used that reference to the American Revolution as a call to violence.
“In fact, it turned out to be an 1861 moment,” Fein said, alluding to the start of the Civil War.
Greene is a conservative firebrand and Trump ally who has become one of the GOP’s biggest fundraisers in Congress by stirring controversy and pushing baseless conspiracy theories. During the recent hearing, Greene was questioned under oath. She repeated the unfounded claim that widespread fraud led to Trump’s loss in the 2020 election, said she didn’t recall various incendiary statements and social media posts attributed to her and denied ever supporting violence.
Greene acknowledged encouraging a rally to support Trump but she said she wasn’t aware of plans to storm the Capitol or to disrupt the electoral count using violence. Greene said she feared for her safety during the riot and used social media posts to encourage people to be safe and to remain calm.
The challenge to her eligibility is based on a section of the 14th Amendment that says 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.” Ratified shortly after the Civil War, it was meant in part to keep representatives who had fought for the…
Read More News: Judge: Marjorie Taylor Greene is qualified for reelection