14th Amendment Challenge To Madison Cawthorn’s Re-Election Kept Alive By Court

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A federal appeals court has set up an expedited appeal process regarding an earlier federal court ruling blocking a Constitutional challenge to the eligibility of Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) to run for re-election. The challenge is based on provisions of the 14th Amendment that restrict those who participated in insurrection or provided certain support to enemies of the United States from running for office; Cawthorn, although not present at the Capitol during the violence there last year, has repeatedly trumpeted the rioters’ cause. Separately, he even provided justifications for hypothetical future violence connected to lies about the election, although he indicated he felt like such violence would be tragic. The appeals court’s decision means that the challenge to Cawthorn’s re-election still has a chance of proceeding.

HuffPost described the court in question — the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals — as having “revived” the push against Cawthorn’s re-election. According to the court’s schedule, a hearing on the appeal is set for May 3 — two weeks before Election Day in the Republican primary race for Cawthorn’s Congressional seat. (That’s on May 17.) Previously, Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II said an 1872 law removing political restrictions associated with the 14th Amendment for those previously involved with the Confederacy also covered Cawthorn, making the challenge unable to legally proceed regardless of its merits — although it’s been contested whether the law was meaningfully meant to cover future incidents of insurrection or just past events. Federal Judge Amy Totenberg, an Obama appointee, recently questioned Myers’s conclusions while dealing with a case over a similar challenge to the re-election of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Totenberg is set to rule this week on whether that challenge can proceed.

Other Republican candidates facing similar challenges to their eligibility to run for office include Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.). “Free Speech For People and Our Revolution are co-leading a national campaign to ensure that election officials across the country follow the mandate of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment and bar elected officials who engaged in the insurrection, including former President Donald Trump, from appearing on any future ballot,” as summarized by Free Speech for People, which is involved in these challenges. Trump hasn’t formally stated he’ll run again, but it seems likely that he’ll make another go — to the point that he recently faced a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging he was violating federal laws on campaign finance by operating as a political candidate according to the law but failing to have actually formally declared himself to be one. Delaying his formal declaration of candidacy means — on paper, at least — that he’s free of certain campaign finance requirements.