Marjorie Taylor Greene Re-Election Could Be Disqualified After Judge Ruling

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene could potentially be disqualified from seeking re-election this year after a U.S. federal district judge ruled that a legal challenge aimed at preventing her from running again can go ahead.

Judge Amy Totenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia refused to grant Greene a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order that would have delayed action in the case in a 73-page ruling on Monday.

A group of Georgia voters is seeking to have Greene disqualified based on a provision in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that was originally designed to prevent former Confederates from holding office after the Civil War.

They accuse Greene of helping to "facilitate the January 6, 2021 insurrection," according to Free Speech For People, a non-partisan, non-profit legal advocacy organization that is representing the Georgia voters.

Greene, who represents Georgia's 14th district, had argued that it would not be possible to fully resolve the lawsuit before the May 24 primary elections in the state. Absentee ballots will start to be mailed out from April 25.

Judge Totenberg, an Obama appointee, wrote that Greene had not met her "burden of persuasion" in her request for an injunction.

"This case involves a whirlpool of colliding constitutional interests of public import," the judge wrote.

"The novelty of the factual and historical posture of this case—especially when assessed in the context of a preliminary injunction motion reviewed on a fast track—has made resolution of the complex legal issues at stake here particularly demanding," Totenberg said.

Greene's attorney, James Bopp Jr., said: "This is fundamentally antidemocratic" and said that the congresswoman had "publicly and vigorously condemned the attack on the Capitol."

Bopp Jr. also said the lawsuit was part of a nationwide effort to prevent voters choosing candidates they wanted, with elections instead being decided by "bureaucrats, judges, lawyers and clever legal arguments."

The challenge has been filed with the Georgia Secretary of State's office and the case is set to come before a state administrative judge on Friday.

Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People, praised Totenberg's ruling in comments to The New York Times on Monday. He pointed to this week's hearing on the matter.

"At the hearing on Friday, we look forward to questioning Greene under oath about her involvement in the events of January 6, and to demonstrating how her facilitation of the insurrection disqualifies her from public office under the United States Constitution," Fein said.

In March, Greene issued a statement criticizing the effort to disqualify her and saying she is opposed to all political violence.

"As I've said many times before, I'm vehemently opposed to all forms of political violence," Greene said and added: "I've never encouraged political violence and never will."

Greene criticized Democrats last week for their focus on January 6, 2021, having previously told NBC News the media was paying too much attention to the events of that day.

In their original filing seeking Greene's disqualification, attorneys for her challengers repeatedly pointed to the fact that she referred to January 6, 2021 as "our 1776 moment" before the Capitol riot, arguing this phrase was used by others "as a codeword for violence in the run-up to January 6."

That filing accused Greene of having "engaged in insurrection by planning a demonstration with the intent, knowledge, or reason to know that it would result in, or serve as an inciting event to, an insurrection, or with knowledge that an insurrection was substantially likely to result."

A similar effort to disqualify Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina's 11th district was prevented by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II, a Trump appointee, in March.

He ruled that an 1872 act of Congress that granted amnesty to former Confederates also applied to Cawthorn and prevented his disqualification under the 14th Amendment.

In a statement to Newsweek on Tuesday, Free Speech for People's Ron Fein said: "Greene's lawsuit offered four different legal theories for why the challenge against her supposedly shouldn't be heard, but Judge Totenberg rejected all of them."

"These were the same claims raised by Madison Cawthorn in his own lawsuit to block a hearing on his disqualification from office, but Judge Totenberg's thoughtful ruling demonstrates why the judge in Cawthorn's case got it wrong," Fein said.

Newsweek has asked Marjorie Taylor Greene's office for comment.

Update 04/19/22 08.07a.m. E.T.: This article was updated to include a statement from Free Speech for People.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Answers Questions in Washington
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) answers questions in front of the House steps while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy holds a press conference November 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. A judge has ruled that a lawsuit aiming to disqualify Greene from running for reelection can proceed. Win McNamee/Getty Images