Though logic would seem to dictate that if you stormed the Capitol on January 6th, holding an official position within the government you were hoping to dismantle would be a no-no. Amazingly, it’s pretty damn difficult to get from Point A to Point B in these situations. Case in point: Couy Griffin, a city commissioner in New Mexico and January 6th insurrectionist, just became the first official in more than a century to be removed from office because the Constitution frowns on lawmaker-traitor hybrids.
On Tuesday, a New Mexico judge ruled that Griffin be removed from office under the 14th Amendment, which states that: “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.”
As The New York Times reports, Griffin’s removal from office made history as the first time in more than a century that a lawmaker has been ousted from their position as a result of the 14th Amendment, which is sometimes referred to as the Reconstruction Amendment. As Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer write:
The ruling declared the Capitol assault an insurrection and unseated Couy Griffin, a commissioner in New Mexico’s Otero County and the founder of Cowboys for Trump, who was convicted earlier this year of trespassing when he breached barricades outside the Capitol during the attack. The judge’s order grabbed the attention of advocates across the country who have been pushing to use the 14th Amendment to disqualify former President Donald J. Trump and elected officials who worked with him in seeking to overturn the 2020 election from holding office in the future.
In his decision, Judge Francis J. Mathew of the New Mexico District Court said the insurrection on Jan. 6 included not only the mob violence that unfolded that day, but also the “surrounding planning, mobilization and incitement” that led to it.
“Mr. Griffin is constitutionally disqualified from serving,” the judge wrote.
Though Griffin is the first person in more than 100 years to actually lose his job over the events of January 6th, it’s not for lack of trying. From Marjorie Taylor Greene to Madison Cawthorn, various other groups have attempted to prevent politicians who took part in the attacks on the Capitol from being allowed to run for office again. While, so far, those efforts have been unsuccessful, Griffin’s ouster could set a new precedent.
“This just went from being theoretical to being something that is legally recognized and legally possible,” Noah Bookbinder, director of the nonpartisan watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington—the group that filed the suit against Griffin on behalf of concerned New Mexico residents—told The New York Times. “That’s hugely significant. It could have real implications for protecting the country from people associated with the effort to overturn the last election.”
(Via The New York Times)