Insurrectionist Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) found a Trump-appointed federal judge to save him from being disqualified from the ballot in 2022.
Cawthorn was deeply involved in the January 6th plot to overthrow democracy and he has since repeatedly incited or threatened future violence against the federal government.
His involvement in the attempted coup last year resulted in voters challenging his eligibility to be on the ballot in 2022 since the 14th Amendment of the Constitution makes it clear that lawmakers who “engaged in insurrection” against the United States may not hold office.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, 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. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections even declared that it has the power to disqualify Cawthorn. But Judge Richard Meyers sabotaged the effort this week by blocking it, saving Cawthorn in the process.
Meyers argued that it’s crucial to protect the soapbox, ballot box, and jury box in this country because
“When those fail, that’s when people proceed to the ammunition box.”
Of course, Cawthorn tried to overthrow the ballot box and his case was decided by a right-wing Trump-appointed judge instead of a jury. Trump supporters have also been threatening to proceed to the ammunition box anyway. Meyers also argued that Congress “repealed” Section 3 of the 14th Amendment via an 1872 amnesty law.
Except that law only granted amnesty to former leaders of the Confederacy who tried to overthrow the United States during the Civil War. It was passed by a two-thirds majority as required by Section 5 of the amendment. But it did not actually repeal Section 3. Two-thirds of Congress has not passed any such law granting amnesty to Cawthorn and his fellow insurrectionists. Plus, a mere law cannot repeal part of a constitutional amendment. Only a new amendment can repeal an amendment such as when the 21st Amendment was passed to repeal the 18th Amendment that had prohibited alcohol.
Meyers is out of line in his ruling. Apparently, a mere law passed by Congress is enough to repeal amendments now. That could not happen when Congress passed the Sedition Act to punish free speech in 1798, a law that was repealed because of its unconstitutionality, and it cannot happen now. Cawthorn should be disqualified from office because the Constitution says he should be. But leave it to a right-wing activist judge to ignore and degrade the Constitution while giving the next Republican Congress an open door to just repeal amendments via legislative fiat.
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