WASHINGTON Reuters) -U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene should be allowed to run for reelection, Georgia’s secretary of state ruled on Friday, rejecting arguments by a group of voters that her comments about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol made her unfit for federal office.
Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger issued a final decision upholding the findings of Charles Beaudrot Jr., an administrative law judge in Atlanta. Free Speech for People, the group spearheading the legal challenge, vowed to appeal the decision to the Georgia Superior Court.
“In this case, Challengers assert that Representative Greene’s political statements and actions disqualify her from office,” Raffensperger said in his decision. “That is rightfully a question for the voters of Georgia’s 14th Congressional District.”
Greene, a prominent supporter of Republican former President Donald Trump, is seeking reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives from a Georgia district. The Republican primary is scheduled on May 24 and the general election on Nov. 8.
In comments to the media, she has played down and justified the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol assault by Trump supporters in their failed bid to block congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
“Democrats know they can’t beat me at the ballot box, so left-wing Communist activists tried to RIP my name off the ballot. And they failed,” Greene said in a statement. “This assault on our Constitution confirmed what we already knew: Democrats hate our system of free and fair elections.”
“Marjorie Taylor Greene helped facilitate the January 6 insurrection, and under the Constitution, she is disqualified from future office,” Free Speech for People said.
In a novel legal challenge, the Georgia group accused Greene of violating a U.S. Constitution provision called the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause by supporting an incendiary rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol.
The constitutional clause, added after the U.S. Civil War of the 1860s, prohibits politicians from running for Congress if they have engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” or “given aid or comfort” to the nation’s enemies.
Trump at the preceding rally told his supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell,” repeating his false claims that the election was stolen through widespread voter fraud. The Trump supporters attacked police, ransacked parts of the Capitol and sent lawmakers into hiding for their own safety.
“I was asking people to come for a peaceful march, which everyone is entitled to do,” Greene told the judge at an April hearing on the effort to block her from the ballot. “I was not asking them to actively engage in violence.”
(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone, Leslie Adler, Chizu Nomiyama Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio)