New Petition Pressures US House Members Not to Seat GOP Insurrectionists in 2023

A pair of progressive advocacy groups launched a petition on Friday to pressure the U.S. House of Representatives not to seat returning members who supported the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

The petition, led by Free Speech for People and MoveOn, takes aim at three Republican members of Congress in particular, citing the section of the 14th Amendment that bars from federal office anyone who has taken an oath to support the Constitution then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”

Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) “are ineligible to hold future public office,” the petition argues, “having voiced support for and helped facilitate the deadly insurrection on our nation’s Capitol on January 6th, 2021.”

The petition, which nearly 67,000 people have signed as of Saturday morning, continues:

Publicly available evidence establishes that Rep. Paul Gosar helped facilitate the insurrection, before, during, and after January 6, 2021. Not only was he among a handful of Congress members who expressed vocal support for the insurrection as it was happening , but, according to news reports, Gosar went so far as to offer organizers of the pre-attack demonstration a “blanket pardon” in connection with unrelated criminal investigations, encouraging what would no doubt be an illegal act of violence.

In the weeks leading up to January 6, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene publicly stated that violence might be necessary to keep Trump in power, exhorted her followers not to allow Congress to transfer power peacefully, and, the night before the attack, called the date “our 1776 moment” (a codeword used by violent extremists to refer to an attack on government buildings). Greene has since attempted to defend the violence on January 6 as justified by the Declaration of Independence, calling convicted participants in the insurrection “political prisoners of war.” In December 2022, she bragged that “if” she had organized the attack, “we would have won. Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert echoed Greene’s coded sentiments during the insurrection, tweeting, “Today is 1776.” She was billed as a speaker for the pre-attack Capitol protest, though she did not speak. Three days prior to the insurrection, Boebert released an ad featuring herself walking through federal buildings while brandishing a firearm, pledging to carry a handgun in the Capitol despite D.C. laws banning open carry. In addition, two January 6th organizers told Rolling Stone of “dozens” of planning meetings with Boebert and several other Congress members in the days leading up to the insurrection.

Free Speech for People and MoveOn note that a member-elect of the House—soon to be controlled by Republicans who supported former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election—”may challenge, under House procedures authorized by the Constitution, the qualifications of another member-elect” when the new Congress convenes next month.

“We must urge them to do so,” the groups said.

The petition came a day after more than 40 House Democrats introduced legislation aiming to bar Trump from ever holding office again, also pointing the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause.

“Donald Trump very clearly engaged in an insurrection on January 6, 2021 with the intention of overturning the lawful and fair results of the 2020 election,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the lead sponsor of the new bill. “You don’t get to lead a government you tried to destroy.”

Watchdog groups have also launched or pledged to launch legal efforts to bar Trump and other Republican insurrectionists from office, campaigns that have thus far fallen short in court. Earlier this year, a Georgia judge allowed Greene to remain on the 2022 midterm ballot after a group of voters represented by Free Speech for People sued to have her removed.

Greene was among the Republican lawmakers who asked Trump for a pardon over their roles in the January 6 attack, according to the House panel investigating the insurrection.

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