Mama, don’t let your boys grow up to be insurrectionists.
Judge Francis J. Mathew ruled on Monday that under Section 3 of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, “the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol and surrounding planning, mobilization, and incitement were an “‘insurrection” against the Constitution of the United States, and [Griffin] “engaged in” that insurrection after taking his oath,” of office.
According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW ) Griffin, who is now barred from holding virtually any elected office in the country, is the first person in more than a century to be ousted from office on grounds of insurrection. CREW aided in representing several New Mexico residents who brought forth the suit against Griffin following his participation in the Jan. 6 riot.
“This decision makes clear that any current or former public officials who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and then participated in the January 6th insurrection can and will be removed and barred from government service for their actions,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement released by the organization.
Judge Mathew wrote that Griffin’s actions amounted to insurrection in part because “by joining the mob and trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds, Mr. Griffin contributed to delaying Congress’s election-certification proceedings. The constitutionally-mandated proceedings could not resume until all members of the mob, including Mr. Griffin, were removed from the restricted area.” Mathews also established that a criminal conviction is not “a prerequisite for disqualification” from holding public office.
Griffin was previously charged with a misdemeanor for breaching the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, and offered a plea agreement in August. While Griffin did not enter the Capitol building, he was seen manning a bullhorn on the Capitol Terrace and “calling on ‘men’ to join him in ‘battle,’ telling crowds they were in the midst of a ‘war,’ dehumanizing the opposition as “wicked” and “vile,’” and “warning that ‘losing [was] not an option.’”
Once a staunch supporter of Trump, Griffin’s loyalty has since soured, particularly given that he and others facing the consequences of their participation in Jan. 6 felt abandoned by the former president.
The ruling sets a potential new avenue of accountability for lawmakers who participated in Trump’s efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 election. A recent review of candidates by FiveThirtyEight found that 195 of 529 Republican nominees for the 2022 midterms “fully denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election.” However, the ruling is unlikely to frighten the myriad of Republican lawmakers currently holding office who encouraged efforts to undermine the election, and voted against the certification of Joe Biden as president, some of whom — including Marjorie Taylor Greeen — have already survived attempts to bar them from holding office.