An Arizona judge’s decision stopping moves to keep two Republican congressmen and a state representative off the November ballot due to their alleged January 6, 2021, “insurrection” roles at the U.S. Capitol likely foreshadows the outcome of similar efforts in other states, according to the attorney who argued the case.
Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury ruled against motions brought by plaintiffs seeking the removal of Arizona U.S. Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs and state representative Mark Finchem, saying the 14th Amendment’s Disqualification Clause requires congressional action to remove an elected official, not a suit brought by private citizens in a state court.
“The express language of the United States Constitution controls this issue. The Disqualification Clause creates a condition where someone can be disqualified from serving in public office. However, the Constitution provides that legislation enacted by Congress is required to enforce the disqualification pursuant to the Disqualification Clause,” Coury ruled.
“Aside from criminal statutes dealing with insurrection and rebellion which Congress has enacted (lawsuits which require the government, not private citizens, to initiate), Congress has not passed legislation that is presently in effect which enforces the Disqualification Clause against the candidates,” Coury said.
He was referring to Section 3 of the 14th amendment as the “Disqualification clause” approved by Congress following the Civil War to bar former officials of the Confederacy from holding office under the U.S. Constitution.
Coury noted that “legislation that proposes to enforce the Disqualification Clause currently is pending in the United States Congress, but has not yet been enacted. Therefore, given the current state of the law and in accordance with the United States Constitution, Plaintiffs have no private right of action to assert claims under the Disqualification Clause.”
The 11 plaintiffs, all individual Arizona citizens, who filed the complaint against Gosar, Biggs, and Finchem were represented by attorneys with Free Speech for People (FSP), an Austin, Texas-based left-wing advocacy group.
An FSP spokesman told The Epoch Times the plaintiffs reject the judge’s reasoning and are planning to file an appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.