Law Banning Jan 6 Insurrectionists From Holding Office Proposed


The chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the state Senate of New York has unveiled a piece of proposed legislation that would restrict those involved in insurrection from holding an array of political offices in the state.

The measure, from state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D), obviously mirrors the now well-known provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that similarly restrict those with involvement in insurrection from holding office, although legal questions about the implementation of those rules have emerged. In New Mexico, a county board member was removed from office for personally participating in the Capitol riot, although challenges to the eligibility for re-election of Republican officials who helped incite it were largely unsuccessful. Hoylman’s proposal would block insurrectionists from service in the state legislature or as an executive officer or judge. The measure would also specifically apply to individuals including those whose participation in insurrection came before any time in public service, rather than just figures who betrayed an oath of office.

“Up to 47 New Yorkers were arrested and charged with their roles in the January 6 U.S. Capitol riots that left five people dead in the immediate aftermath, four subsequent deaths from suicide, and dozens of police officers injured,” the state Senator said. “Our RIOT Act will bar anyone who’s acted against the sanctity of our democracy from holding elected office and sends a strong message that violence is incompatible with government service. We must continue to safeguard our democracy from the extremists attempting to destroy it.” The measure is called the Restrict Insurrectionists from Office Taking — or RIOT — Act.

Individuals who joined in the chaos in D.C. on January 6 have already sought elected office. That list includes Ryan Kelley, who was charged for his participation in the riot and later finished fourth in the Michigan GOP’s 2022 primary for governor, with about 15 percent of the vote. Predictably, Kelley sought a recount. Several high-profile candidates in that contest were excluded from the ballot in connection to a scandal involving the submission of fake signatures in support of authorities including those contenders on the ballot at all, leaving the Michigan GOP with Tudor Dixon as their nominee — who lost in the general election by nearly half a million votes. Among insurrectionists, there was also GOP state Sen. Doug Mastriano who lost in last year’s race for governor in Pennsylvania. Mastriano was in the crowds in D.C. back on January 6, although he wasn’t criminally charged.

At the federal level, Democrats including Rep. Jamie Raskin (Md.) pushed a bill in the last Congress that would have codified a method for seeking the implementation of the constitutional restrictions on insurrectionists holding office via civil court and formally defined the Capitol attack — and related political schemes — as acts of insurrection. It doesn’t appear that measure was ever voted on by the full House.