Posted on May 16, 2022 Corporate Abuse of Power Share: Appeal argues that the administrative law judge made four critical errors in procedure and application of the law that warrant review ATLANTA, GA (MAY 16, 2022) – A group of Georgia voters filed today a petition for judicial review before the Fulton County Superior Court of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s decision that Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is qualified to be a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. The decision, which affirmed a state administrative law judge’s initial ruling, followed a voter challenge alleging that Greene is constitutionally disqualified from public office under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, on the grounds that she helped facilitate the January 6, 2021 insurrection. In the appeal, the voters cite four issues with the Secretary of State’s decision and the initial ruling by the administrative law judge. First, the Georgia Supreme Court has held that the burden of establishing one’s eligibility to run for public office is on the candidate. The administrative law judge erred by shifting the burden from the candidate to the voter challengers. Second, the administrative law judge erred in denying the voter challengers’ request for Greene to produce communications and other materials related to her involvement in the January 6 insurrection. Third, the decision did not properly consider Greene’s conduct prior to taking the oath of office which included months of conduct promoting violence. Finally, the administrative law judge erred in applying the incorrect legal standard for “engaging” in insurrection, defining “engaging” as a “months of planning and plotting to bring about the Invasion,” as opposed to the legal definition of engagement as “a voluntary effort to assist the Insurrection.” The voter challengers are represented by Free Speech For People, a nonpartisan, non-profit legal advocacy organization with leading constitutional law experts; Bryan Sells, an Atlanta-based civil rights lawyer specializing in voting rights and election law; and New York-based Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP, which specializes in election law. Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment, known as the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, provides: “No Person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress. . . who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress . . . 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.” The purpose of the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, passed in the wake of the Civil War, is not to punish the oathbreaker but rather to protect the country. As the administrative law judge in Greene’s case acknowledged, no criminal conviction or prior adjudication is required under the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, although Greene would be able to seek judicial review of an adverse decision. Anyone seeking to run for public office in Georgia “shall meet the constitutional and statutory qualifications for the office being sought.” Under Georgia’s candidacy challenge statute, once a challenge is filed, the Secretary of State must request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge of the Office of State Administrative Hearings to determine whether the candidate is qualified for office. The burden of proof then shifts to the candidate, who must “affirmatively establish [their] eligibility for office.” Before the hearing, Greene filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Atlanta seeking to block the state process from moving forward. The federal district court rejected her motion for a preliminary injunction. Greene has appealed that decision, and oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit is scheduled for August. In January, voters in North Carolina, represented by Free Speech For People and North Carolina lawyers, filed a similar challenge against Representative Madison Cawthorn based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. On March 4, 2022, a federal district court judge in North Carolina, appointed by Donald Trump, issued an injunction blocking the North Carolina State Board of Elections from hearing the challenge on the grounds that an 1872 law which provided amnesty to ex-Confederates also applied to Cawthorn. The voters filed an expedited appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the court heard arguments in Cawthorn v. Amalfi on May 3, 2022. The court has yet to rule. While state election authorities cannot impose additional qualifications upon federal candidates, they can (as confirmed by then-Judge, now-Justice Neil Gorsuch) exclude candidates from the ballot who do not meet the qualifications established by the Constitution itself. 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. More information about that campaign is available at www.14point3.org. Read the appeal here.