Democrat lawmakers across America appear keen to prevent those they have characterized or will one day characterize as insurrectionists from holding public office.
Whereas before, activists sought only to preclude a handful of individuals such as former President Donald Trump and former Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn (N.C.) from running on the basis of untried accusations, lawmakers in New York, Connecticut, and Virginia are now joining others in baking their Jan. 6 narrative into law, reported the Associated Press.
What are the details?
USA Today noted that the fear of sabotage from within government by Confederate remnants in the aftermath of the Civil War prompted Congress to include a disqualification clause in the Constitution.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment bars rebels or insurrectionists from holding “any office, civil or military, under the United States.” Congress may, however, per the provision, remove such a prohibition with a two-thirds vote of each House.
Congress did so in 1872, passing the Amnesty Act with more than the two-thirds of the vote, thereby removing “all political disabilities imposed by the third section of the fourteenth article of amendments … from all persons whomsoever.”
According to the University of Minnesota Law School’s Constitutional Commentary, supermajorities in the Congress removed additional disabilities “as a gesture of national unity” in 1898.
Notwithstanding the Reconstruction-era amnesty, Fox 13 reported that Section 3 was invoked in 1919, when Congress barred socialist Victor K. Berger from occupying a seat in the House over his opposition to America’s entry into World War 1.
Since this law is already enshrined in the Constitution, New York Republican Assemblyman and minority leader Will Barclay told the Associated Press that Democrats were simply making a “political statement.”
It is “more political than it is a concern about public policy,” Barclay added. The law in place “should be sufficient.”
Prior to the having their House majority taken away from them by the American people, Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and 40 other congressional Democrats introduced a bill in December that would make former President Donald J. Trump “ineligible to again hold the office of President of the United States or to hold any office, civil or military, under the United States.”
The bill, which cited Section 3, suggested that Trump, who has not been convicted of such a crime, “did engage in insurrection against the United States by mobilizing, inciting, and aiding those who attacked the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, to disrupt certification of the 2020 Presidential Election.”
Despite a dearth of eligible convicts, Democrats’ list of forbidden candidates has outgrown just Trump.
Jordan Boyd, writing in the Federalist, noted, “If you disagree with Democrats, you’re an insurrectionist.”
The Associated Press reported that Republican state Senator Cris Dush called out his Democratic peer Senator Amanda Cappelletti for bandying about the accusatory term “insurrection,” noting that “nobody has been charged with that. … There’s not been a single charge against any of those people as insurrectionists. In this committee, we are not using that term.”
Over 840 Jan. 6 protesters were arrested. As of this month, 185 have received their sentences. According to Time magazine, the median sentence has been 45 days. None yet have been charged with insurrection, despite the publication’s liberal use of the term. The most serious charge leveled to date has been seditious conspiracy.
Without a conviction in their favor, partisan activists nevertheless attempted to have former Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn (N.C.) disqualified from running for reelection last year. Cawthorn noted in February 2022 that these efforts to chase convictions to further limit voters’ choices might have “major implications down the road.”
Cawthorn told ABC News, “Running for political office is quintessential First Amendment activity and afforded great protection.”
He added that Section 3 is “being used as a weapon by liberal Democrats to attempt to defeat our democracy by having state bureaucrats, rather than the People, choose who will represent North Carolina in Congress.”
“If you’ve tried to take down our government through violent means, in no way should you be part of it,” said New York Senator Brad Holyman-Sigal, whose state has seen its fair share of BLM and Antifa violence
The justification for the bill claims that “at least two new elected representatives have been credibly accused of participating in the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.”
The bill notes that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment applies to anyone who previously swore an oath to defend the Constitution, “but it does not address candidates who have not yet taken an oath or affirmation.”
Trump, for instance, had sworn oaths long before telling protesters to “go home” and calling for peace, law, and order on Jan. 6. Consequently, he could be prevented from running for office in the state under this bill.
Connecticut state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff introduced Senate Bill 244 on Jan. 17, which would “provide that convicts of certain crimes shall permanently (1) forfeit their electoral rights and privileges, and (2) be prohibited from employment by the state or any political subdivision thereof.”
The crimes of concern: “sedition, insurrection, rebellion or a felony in relation to any such act.”
TheBlaze reached out to state Sens. Holyman-Sigal and Duff inquiring whether, extra to the Jan. 6 protests they reference and have expressed concern about, politically charged BLM and Antifa violence might similarly preclude offenders from serving.
TheBlaze also asked whether the state senators feared their bills could be weaponized by partisan actors on either side of the spectrum to prevent potential political opponents from attaining political office.
Neither provided an answer prior to publication.
Even if such legislation were evenly applied to the Democrats’ paramilitary allies as well, prosecutors would first have to be willing to possible convict leftist insurrectionists. If the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office’s apparent refusal to try the supermajority of 2020 leftist rioters in Portland is any indication, equitable outcomes may be unlikely.
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Author: Joseph MacKinnon
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