Obama-Appointed Judge OKs Georgia Voter Challenge to Greene’s Reelection Run

Obama-Appointed Judge OKs Georgia Voter Challenge to Greene's Reelection Run Marjorie Taylor Greene gestures while speaking Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. (J. Scott Applewhite/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 19 April 2022 07:04 AM

A federal judge is letting a group of Georgia voters go ahead with legal efforts seeking to disqualify Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from running for reelection to Congress, citing her role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The challenge filed last month with the Georgia secretary of state's office alleges that Greene, a Republican, helped facilitate the Jan. 6, 2021, protest that disrupted Congress as it certified Joe Biden's presidential election. That violates a rarely cited provision of the 14th Amendment and makes her ineligible to run for reelection, according to the challenge.

The amendment 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 Confederacy from returning to Congress.

Greene, 47, filed a lawsuit earlier this month asking a judge to declare that the law that the voters are using to challenge her eligibility is itself unconstitutional and to prohibit state officials from enforcing it.

Judge Amy Totenberg, in a 73-page ruling issued Monday, denied Greene's request for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order.

Totenberg, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia by President Barack Obama, wrote that Greene had failed to meet the "burden of persuasion" in her request for injunctive relief.

Georgia law says any voter who is eligible to vote for a candidate may challenge that candidate's qualifications by filing a written complaint within two weeks after the deadline for qualifying. The secretary of state must then notify the candidate of the challenge and request a hearing before an administrative law judge. After holding a hearing, the administrative law judge presents findings to the secretary of state, who then must determine whether the candidate is qualified.

Free Speech for People, a national election and campaign finance reform group, filed the challenge March 24.

Greene said in her lawsuit that she "vigorously denies that she aided and engaged in insurrection to obstruct the peaceful transfer of presidential power."

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