Liberal campaigners want Marjorie Taylor Greene banned from the ballot, but Tories call the hearing an ‘assault on democracy’
US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, testified on Friday at a hearing seeking to expel her from Congress for her alleged role in fomenting last January’s Capitol Hill riot, dubbed a “insurrection” by Democrats and liberal pundits. Greene insists she broke no laws and her supporters decried the hearing as an attempt by Democrats to punish a political opponent.
The case against Greene was brought by a group of Democratic voters in Georgia and supported by Our Revolution and Free Speech for People, two left-leaning nonprofits. They argue that Greene can and should be kicked out of Congress under an arcane clause added to a post-Civil War constitutional amendment.
This clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution prohibits anyone “engaged in an insurrection or rebellion” against the constitution or gave “help or comfort his enemies” of the incumbent position.
The clause has never been tested in court in this way, and those pushing for Greene’s expulsion have an uphill battle ahead of them. On the one hand, while the events of January 6, 2021 – which saw a crowd of supporters of former President Donald Trump force their way into the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. – have been described by Democrats as a “insurrection” and an act of “domestic terrorism” none of the more than 800 people charged in connection with the day’s events have been charged with the crime of “insurrection.”
Greene’s attorney told CNN he views the proceedings as a “show trial” and Greene herself insists she never encouraged breaking the law on January 6. Instead, she maintains that she asked Trump supporters to show up in Washington that day for a “peaceful protest” and in court on Friday she said she had “No knowledge” of any organized attempt to disrupt Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory that day.
In his social media posts at the time and in his court statements, Greene insisted that Biden’s victory was fraudulent. Trump has repeatedly claimed the same thing, citing irregularities in mail-in voting and at midnight “ballot papers” in major swing states, but his campaign’s multiple legal challenges failed to overturn Biden’s victory.
Greene was joined in court on Friday by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a close ally who has also questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s 2020 win. Gaetz said Friday morning he was there to support Green. “against the assault on democracy that is this effort to remove it from the ballot.”
Both Greene and Gaetz were among 147 congressional Republicans who opposed the 2020 election results in battleground states.
If Greene’s opponents are successful, the decision could have far-reaching implications
consequences. For example, Trump could face a similar challenge if he formally announces another White House bid in 2024, given that he has already been impeached for allegedly instigating Jan. 6. “insurrection.”
However, this is an unlikely outcome. A North Carolina federal judge last month blocked a similar attempt to bar Rep. Madison Cawthorn — another conservative ally of Greene and Gaetz — from holding office using the same 14th Amendment approach. In Cawthorn’s case, the judge ruled that the Amnesty Act of 1872, which pardoned Confederate soldiers who had fought the Union a decade earlier, nullified the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment.
Greene is seeking a second term in November, in a district that has been occupied by Republicans since its inception in 2010.
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