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High Court Allows Actions Against State, Local Official For Insurrection

Two U.S. Supreme Court actions have opened a new legal frontier in which local and state officials can be disqualified from office for life for engaging in “insurrection” or providing “aid and comfort” to enemies of the Constitution, based on a post-Civil War addition to the Constitution and how the courts interpret it. The high court on Monday rejected an appeal from a former New Mexico county commissioner who was kicked out of office after he was convicted of trespassing during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. A state judge who barred him from office said his actions violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which was added to the Constitution in 1868 to prevent Confederates from returning to government, reports the Associated Press.

Another Supreme Court ruling said that Section 3 can’t be used against federal officials or candidates until Congress writes a law outlining procedures to do so. That includes former President Trump, the target of a campaign to end his bid to return to the White House via the 14th Amendment. The court’s ruling in the Trump case explicitly said the provision could still be used against state and local officials. Taken together, the actions herald a new legal landscape as liberal groups that pushed the issue of Trump’s disqualification reboot efforts to target state and local officials linked to Jan. 6. “This is a bit of returning to the course we expected to be following, which was holding individuals accountable ... low-level officials who still broke their oath by coming to D.C., engaging in insurrection,” said Stuart McPhail of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a left-leaning group whose lawsuit against Trump ended up at the Supreme Court.


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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