Judge Tosses out Lawsuit Aimed at Keeping Reps. Gosar, Biggs off Ballots Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 22 April 2022 02:18 PM
A judge in Maricopa County, Arizona, has thrown out a lawsuit which challenged the rights of U.S. Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar to run for reelection because of their participation in rallies leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The suit, brought by a voting rights group, also named state Rep. Mark Finchem. According to AZ Central, the suit alleged the three Arizona Republicans participated in an "insurrection". It had further claimed that their alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential results made them ineligible for reelection.
But Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury rejected arguments that a law adopted after the Civil War could be used to disqualify the lawmakers and keep their names off the 2022 ballot.
AZ Central noted that Coury said the disqualification clause tied to the 14th Amendment doesn't permit a private citizen to file suit in an attempt to prevent a candidate from running for office.
"Congress has not created a private right of action to allow a citizen to enforce the Disqualification Clause by having a person declared to be 'not qualified' to hold public office," Coury wrote in his 19-page ruling.
Lawyers for Biggs, Gosar, and Finchem had argued none of the lawmakers had been charged with a crime related to Jan. 6, and their words are protected under freedom of speech.
In his ruling, a portion of it was posted on Twitter by Garrett Archer of ABC15, the judge noted his ruling does not validate nor disprove the allegations against the candidates.