New analysis explores likelihood of Madison Cawthorn being blocked from the NC ballot due to the insurrection
Like many other Republican lawmakers, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) backed former President Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud as part of his efforts to overturn the presidential election. But a new analysis was written by Washington, D.C.-based journalist, Roger Parloff sheds light on how Cawthorn may have inadvertently self-sabotaged his possibility of re-election..
Parloff highlighted a recent petition filed by a group of voters in North Carolina. The 34-petition pointed to Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment which states the following:
No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
Although the arguments seem plausible, Parloff notes that Section 3 cases are quite rare. He also dived deeper to further explain what it means to engage in an "insurrection."
"The U.S. Supreme Court has never heard a Section 3 case, and all of the lower court precedents are well over 100 years old," Parloff wrote. "What exactly is an 'insurrection'? What does it mean to 'engage in' one? Who is empowered to enforce the section? And given the section’s constitutional status, is it constrained by the First Amendment, the Bill of Attainder Clause, and the Ex Post Facto Clause—or does it transcend them all?"
So, how does this apply to the freshman lawmaker? Parloff shared more details about the group's arguments.
'The petition’s factual allegations against Cawthorn should suffice to overcome the pro forma threshold needed to reach the discovery phase," Parloff wrote. "The voters claim to have a reasonable suspicion that Cawthorn 'was involved in either planning the attack' or, alternatively, in the 'planning of the pre-attack demonstration and/or march on the Capitol with advance knowledge that it was substantially likely to lead to the attack.'”
However, he believes the petition may be "more about discovery than disqualification" as he noted how difficult it might be to prove the Republican lawmaker actually "engaged" in the insurrection.
He noted, "While the events of Jan. 6 probably qualify as an 'insurrection,' discovery would have to turn up something far more damning than the petitioners have alleged so far to establish that Cawthorn 'engaged in' it."
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