Supreme Court Denies New Mexico Official’s Appeal

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( – On Monday, March 18th, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Couy Griffin, a former New Mexico county commissioner, to overturn his removal from office. Griffin, a Republican, was removed from office in September 2022 for participating in the events that unfolded in the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.

A New Mexico state district court disqualified Griffin from the office of Otero County commissioner under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. This clause, also known as the “insurrection clause,” prohibits any person from holding office that has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the government.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that individual states could not bar Donald Trump from appearing on a ballot for federal office because states do not have power under the Constitution to enforce Section 3 “with respect to federal offices, especially the Presidency”. States do, however, have the power to disqualify individuals from office at the state level.

In March 2022, Griffin was convicted of a misdemeanor count of “entering and remaining on restricted grounds” on January 6th, 2021, and was sentenced to 14 days in jail by District Judge Trevor McFadden. McFadden told Griffin that his actions and statements regarding January 6 were “in tension” with Griffin’s oath to uphold the Constitution. Griffin later responded that he felt he was upholding his oath by trying to ensure that elections are “transparent and legal” when he traveled to Washington to “peaceably protest” on behalf of millions of other Americans.

Video footage of January 6th, 2021, shows Griffin and a camera person climbing over barricades and crossing barriers, eventually gaining access to the inauguration stage in front of the Capitol. Griffin then spoke to the mob through a bullhorn for over an hour.

New Mexico District Court Judge Francis Mathew decided to remove Griffin from office in September 2022. Judge Francis said that even though Griffin’s actions were not violent in nature they still met the criteria to have him disqualified under the 14th Amendment.

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