A judge on Friday ruled against an effort to disqualify Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from running for re-election, finding that the group who challenged her eligibility did not present enough evidence to prove she had “engaged in insurrection.”
Free Speech for People, an election and campaign finance reform organization, had filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of Georgia voters to kick Greene off the primary ballot, arguing that she helped incite the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, which disrupted the official tallying of the Electoral College votes.
They cited the 14th Amendment’s prohibition on anyone who engaged in insurrection against the U.S. from running for federal or state office.
Greene denied engaging in insurrection when she testified as a witness during a hearing last month, insisting she was simply exercising her First Amendment right to free speech with her baseless claims that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from Donald Trump.
In his 19-page ruling, Administrative Law Judge Charles R. Beaudrot said the challengers “failed to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence.”
They did not sufficiently establish that Greene “engaged in insurrection or rebellion … or [gave] aid or comfort to the enemies” under the 14th Amendment, the judge wrote, concluding that Greene is qualified to be a candidate.
Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, criticized the ruling, saying it “betrays the fundamental purpose” of the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist disqualification clause and “gives a pass to political violence as a tool for disrupting and overturning free and fair elections.”
A spokesman for the group said they plan to appeal.
Under Georgia law, Beaudrot will submit his findings to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, who will make the final decision on Greene’s eligibility.
A spokesman for Raffensperger said his office had received the judge’s recommendation and he “will release his final decision soon.”