A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court’s ruling regarding a challenge to Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-North Carolina) candidacy, which could influence challenges against other candidates who have been accused of aiding an insurrection against the U.S. due to their attempts to keep former President Donald Trump in power.
A federal district judge previously ruled that Cawthorn’s eligibility to run for office couldn’t be challengedThe Amnesty Act of 1872 granted amnesty for former members of Confederacy who were barred from holding office because of their Confederacy membership. conditions listed in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. This reasoning was rejected Tuesday by a three-judge panel of U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.
“We hold only that the 1872 Amnesty Act does not categorically exempt all future rebels and insurrectionists from the political disabilities that otherwise would be created by Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment,” the opinion from the courtJudge Toby Heytens wrote the following:
Although the court made it explicitly clear that it was not directly ruling on Cawthorn’s eligibility, leaving that to lower courts to decide upon, its decision does mean that the Amnesty Act cannot be used as a means of defense against such challenges. The appeals panel also ruled that the challenge to Cawthorn wasn’t moot, even though He lost the primary election against another Republican candidate earlier this year.
Only jurisdictions that are overseen by Fourth Circuit Court include Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The ruling is not legally binding in these states. The ruling could have an influence on other courts in which Republicans are facing 14th Amendment challenges.
Five voters in Georgia are challenging Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R–Georgia), a Trump loyalist who is running for office. His administration was forced to consider martial law.To keep the former president in office after his loss to Joe Biden,
Earlier in the year Charles Beaudrot, Georgia Administrative Judge, ruled in favor of the challenge from the voters on Greene’s candidacy, improperly shifting the responsibility of proving whether Greene was eligible to run to the voters, despite Georgia precedent saying that the onus should lie on the candidate. Beaudrot also claimed that the challengers hadn’t presented enough evidence, and that therefore, he wasn’t obligated to make any decision regarding the 1872 law.
Those voters filed an appeal arguing that Beaudrot’s ruling rested on faulty logic, and that Greene’s advocacy for the use of martial law and her vote against the certification of the 2020 presidential electionshould render her ineligible.
“Greene’s defense rested almost entirely on her claimed lack of memory,” The appeal states, adding that Greene “answered ‘I don’t recall’ or some version thereof more than 80 times during the hearing.”
It’s possible that the Amnesty Act question could come about during the appeal in Greene’s case within the 11th Circuit Court system, which Georgia is a part of. The ruling in the Cawthorn case could be cited as a legal precedent in Greene’s case.
The Cawthorn decision could also have an impact on other Trump-loyalist Republicans. Reps. Andy Biggs, and Paul Gosar from Arizona are currently facing similar challenges based on 14th Amendment eligibility questions.