The Arizona Supreme Court’s decision betrays the fundamental purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause and gives a pass to political violence as a tool for disrupting and overturning free and fair elections. 

Without even hearing any evidence, the trial court judge dismissed the complaints against US Representatives Gosar and Biggs and against State Representative Finchem on the basis that, while Arizona law authorizes voters to “challenge a candidate for any reason relating to qualifications for the office sought as prescribed by law,” this does not apply to the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause because it is “proscribed” rather than “prescribed.” 

This absurd distinction, conjured from nowhere apparently for the sole purpose of identifying a state-law basis to block candidacy challenges under the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, is indefensible under Arizona law. Now, a majority of justices on the Arizona Supreme Court have embraced this distinction. Because they relied on a misreading of the wording of the Arizona candidacy challenge statute, this decision has no impact outside Arizona. And the Arizona Supreme Court certainly did not rule that the January 6 attack was not an insurrection, nor exonerate these defendants from the evidence that they engaged in it.

The voter challengers were denied the opportunity to be heard on the overwhelming evidence that Gosar, Biggs, and Finchem engaged in the January 6 insurrection and are disqualified from future public office under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.  

Read the decision here.