Marjorie Taylor Greene Can Stay On Midterm Ballot Despite Jan. 6 Allegation, Court Rules


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) will remain on the ballot in the November midterms, as a state judge upheld Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s decision to keep Greene on the ballot Monday after voters sought to disqualify her under the Fourteenth Amendment for being an “insurrectionist.”

Key Facts

Judge Christopher Brasher of the Superior Court of Fulton County said Greene can stay on the ballot, after voters challenged Greene’s candidacy under a provision of the Fourteenth Amendment that bars Americans from serving in Congress if they’ve “engaged” in an insurrection.

Brasher heard the case after an administrative law judge had previously ruled in Greene’s favor and recommended the secretary of state let her stay on the ballot, and Raffensperger agreed, upholding Greene’s candidacy.

The coalition of voters that brought the case then appealed Raffensperger’s decision to the Superior Court, arguing the secretary’s ruling was based on “errors of law” like blocking the challengers from gathering more evidence, not taking comments Greene made before taking office into account and being based on a flawed definition of what “engaging” in an insurrection means.

Raffensperger disagreed, arguing in a court filing the secretary had followed proper procedures and did take Greene’s earlier comments into account, and said the voters hadn’t adequately shown how their rights had been prejudiced through his decision, which is required for their challenge to succeed.

In Monday’s ruling, Brasher sided with the administrative law judge, arguing he used an appropriate definition of “engaging” in an insurrection and was correct to reject the voters’ push for a more extensive discovery process.

Chief Critic

In a statement, Free Speech For People—the group that brought the challenge to Greene’s candidacy—said Brasher’s opinion contained “minimal legal analysis, largely simply stating that the administrative law judge’s legal decisions were within his discretion.” The group has not yet decided whether to appeal his decision to the state Supreme Court.

Surprising Fact

Greene had also intervened in the case, and in addition to challenging the voters’ attempt to disqualify her, also argued against Raffensperger and tried to appeal his decision. In a court filing responding to Greene’s claims—which asked the court to declare unconstitutional the section of Georgia law that allows for challenges to politicians’ candidacy—Raffensperger pointed out the “absurdity of Rep. Greene’s attempt to appeal the Secretary’s decision in her favor.”

Big Number

69.5%. That’s how much of the vote Greene won in Georgia’s primary midterm elections, which took place in May. She will face off against Democratic candidate Marcus Flowers, an Army veteran and former official with the Departments of State and Defense, in the general election.

Key Background

The 14th Amendment states “no person” can serve in Congress who, after taking an oath of office, “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the U.S. government or “[gave] aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” Georgia voters from Greene’s district, backed by advocacy group Free Speech for People, filed a lawsuit in March arguing Greene should be disqualified on those grounds, citing statements Greene made that purportedly were in support of the January 6 rioters and violent action like calling the rally that preceded the Capitol attack “our 1776 moment.” Administrative Law Judge Charles R. Beaudrot affirmed Greene’s candidacy May 6 after a day-long hearing in which Greene testified she did not play any role in January 6 and condemned the violence. “Challengers make a valiant effort to support inferences that Rep. Greene was an insurrectionist, but the evidence is lacking, and the Court is not persuaded,” Beaudrot wrote in his ruling. Raffensperger was free to reject Beaudrot’s decision and block Greene from the ballot anyway, but sided with the judge hours later, allowing Greene to remain on the ballot in the primary and for the general election.

Further Reading

Georgia Voters Appeal Decision Allowing Marjorie Taylor Greene To Stay On Ballot (Forbes)

Marjorie Taylor Greene To Remain On Midterm Ballot (Forbes)

Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘Doesn’t Recall’ Any Role In Jan. 6 Capitol Attack (Forbes)