North Carolina officials push back on Madison Cawthorn’s claim about insurrectionists running for office

North Carolina officials push back on Madison Cawthorn’s claim about insurrectionists running for office

In North Carolina, some critics of U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn have been arguing that because of his role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection, he is subject to the state’s ban on insurrectionists running for federal office. Cawthorn has insisted that the law in question doesn’t apply to him, but the North Carolina State Attorney General’s Office disagrees.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney explains, “The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office says a constitutional prohibition on insurrectionists seeking federal office could be applied to GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn if a state board determines he aided or encouraged the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. In a late Monday court filing, state attorneys said a provision of the 14th Amendment — disqualifying insurrectionists from holding federal office — is not a defunct Civil War-era relic meant to apply only to former Confederates, but a guard against future acts of insurrection.”

“As a result,” Cheney adds, “Cawthorn, who is fighting a challenge to his eligibility to run, could face that prohibition if the North Carolina State Board of Elections determines he meets the criteria, the state attorneys said.”

Cawthorn, a far-right MAGA Republican and Donald Trump loyalist known for his inflammatory rhetoric, is seeking a second U.S. House term in the 2022 midterms. But the challenge he is fighting argues that Cawthorn is unable to run because of his activities in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, when he spoke at then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally and promoted Trump’s false claim that he won the 2020 presidential election.

“The state’s filing came in a motion to dismiss Cawthorn’s lawsuit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections,” Cheney notes. “Cawthorn is suing to prevent the Board from even considering the challenge to his eligibility to seek a second term in the House. In his lawsuit, Cawthorn claims the 14th Amendment provision was intended to apply only to former Confederates who fought in the Civil War, and he cited a subsequent 1872 ‘amnesty’ law that waived the 14th Amendment prohibition for those Confederates as evidence of his claim.”

Cheney adds, “But the state AG’s office, led by Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein, disagreed with Cawthorn’s interpretation, citing comments from legislators who helped pass the 1872 law and noting that Congress itself had applied the 14th Amendment prohibition in 1919 against a man named Victor Berger, who was barred from office for violating the Espionage Act during World War I.”

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