A Georgia judge on Friday ruled that GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene can stay on the ballot for the state’s 14th Congressional District following a challenge to her reelection candidacy.
A group of Georgia voters had argued that Greene was not eligible to run for reelection under the “disqualification clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment due to her alleged support for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
In his 19-page opinion, Judge Charles Beaudrot said that the burden of proof is on the challengers and that they “failed to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Beaudrot also said that the evidence in the case was insufficient to establish that Greene “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or [gave] aid or comfort to the enemies thereof under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.”
The judge said he did not focus on Greene’s “heated political rhetoric” from before Jan. 3, 2021, when she was sworn in as a member of Congress and took the oath to uphold the Constitution.
“Her public statements and heated rhetoric may well have contributed to the environment that ultimately led to the Invasion. But expressing constitutionally-protected political views, no matter how aberrant they may be, prior to being sworn in as a Representative is not engaging in insurrection under the 14th Amendment,” he wrote.
The judge’s ruling was a recommendation. The final decision on whether Greene stayed on the ballot was made by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
“In this case, Challengers assert that Representative Greene’s political statements and actions disqualify her from office. That is rightfully a question for the voters of Georgia’s 14th Congressional District,” Raffensperger said in a statement after the ruling.
Free Speech For People, the legal organization representing the challengers, released a statement saying that the judge’s “decision betrays the fundamental purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment’s insurrectionist disqualification clause and gives a pass to political violence as a tool for disrupting and overturning free and fair elections.”
“We will be appealing this decision to the Georgia Superior Court,” the group added.
In a statement, Greene praised the judge for “his correct ruling.”
“Thankfully this attempt to rig another election was stopped in its tracks,” she said.