Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase Sues Legislature After Being Censured for Praising Capitol Rioters

Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase filed a federal lawsuit against the state legislature on Monday after her colleagues voted to censure her for praising pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6.

The lawsuit was filed against the Senate of Virginia for alleged civil rights violations following a vote to reprimand Chase for displaying a "pattern of unacceptable conduct" on January 27.

The lawsuit aims to prevent the Senate clerk from allowing the publication of the censure resolution in the chamber's official journal, and seeks for the censure to be expunged altogether.

Chase's lawyers have alleged that the censure vote has caused her to suffer from "public embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish and loss of seniority" and has "negatively impacted" her gubernatorial campaign, The Virginia-Pilot reported.

Chase is currently one of two elected officials seeking the Virginia Republican Party's 2021 nomination for governor.

The GOP senator claims that the censure violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by "selectively" penalizing her for "taking unpopular political positions that the majority of the members of the Virginia Senate disagree with."

"In all reported cases of censures of state elected officials in the nation, none have been based solely on the speech of an elected official," the lawsuit says, according to ABC13 News.

The censure resolution was introduced by Democratic Senator John Bell after Chase refused to apologize for calling pro-Trump rioters "patriots" and for using a floor speech to defend Ashli Babbitt, a woman who was fatally shot by U.S. Capitol Police during the insurrection.

The measure said that Chase "has exhibited conduct unbecoming of a Senator during her terms in office by displaying a disregard for civility in discourse with colleagues, making false and misleading statements both in committee and on the Senate floor, and displaying a disregard for the significance of her duty to the citizens of the Commonwealth as an elected representative in the Senate of Virginia."

The resolution was approved by a 24–9 vote, with three Republicans joining the chamber's Democrats to censure Chase.

Amanda Chase
State Senator Amanda Chase filed a federal lawsuit against the Virginia Senate after they censured her for praising pro-Trump rioters. Here, Chase carries a gun during an open-carry protest on July 4, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. Eze Amos/Getty

Chase, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, attended the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, but said she left before things turned violent.

In a Facebook post, Chase said she was there to "represent those of us who believe this election was stolen from We the People. This was not a fair, free election. We don't believe the lies, deception and complete stealing of this year's 2020 Presidential Election."

At least five people were killed during the riots, including one Capitol Hill Police officer. Days after the insurrection, Virginia Senate Democrats issued a statement accusing Chase of "empowering a failed coup d'état," and called on her to resign.

"Senator Chase has not demonstrated either good judgment or leadership for Senate District 11 or the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is in the best interest for the Senate of Virginia and her constituents to resign," the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus said in a statement last month.

In response to the resignation calls, Chase called her Democratic colleagues "traitors to both the United States Constitution and the Virginia Constitution."

Chase has previously called for martial law to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and she has pushed false claims that the election had been stolen due to voter fraud. On January 7, Chase was suspended from Facebook for false claims that Antifa infiltrated the Trump rally and initiated violence.

Bell told The Virginia-Pilot that the Senate ultimately voted to censure Chase after she failed to denounce her past statements.

"She was definitely given due process along the way, and myself and everyone else gave her a chance to speak her piece," he said.

Newsweek reached out to Chase for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.