Free Speech For People applauds the New Mexico judge’s decision in White v. Griffin, finding that the (now-former) county commissioner Couy Griffin is disqualified from public office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment (the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause), and congratulates Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) for leading this case.
The judge’s decision sets precedent that goes far beyond New Mexico. Building on (and repeatedly citing) legal points established in Free Speech For People’s similar challenge to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Griffin decision reaffirms several important legal principles that will apply to any other insurrectionists who seek or hold public office–including, if he chooses to run again, Donald Trump. These principles include:
  • The January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, and surrounding events, constituted an “insurrection.”
  • The legal test for whether someone has “engaged” in insurrection remains the Worthy-Powell standard: whether they voluntarily aided the insurrection by personal service or contributed anything that was useful to it. As the New Mexico judge explained, this also includes anyone “leagued” with insurrectionists: “either by acting in concert with others knowing that the group intended to achieve its purpose in part by violence,” or “by performing an ‘overt act’ knowing that act would ‘aid or support’ the insurrection.”
  • This can include speech, and the First Amendment does not protect an insurrectionist from disqualification. As the New Mexico judge noted, “Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment is just as much a part of the Constitution as the First Amendment.”
  • No prior criminal conviction is necessary for disqualification.

Free Speech For People has committed to filing multiple Section 3 legal challenges to the candidacies of other insurrectionists (including, if he runs again, Donald Trump), and CREW’s victory in New Mexico helps reaffirm longstanding legal principles that will underlie those challenges.