Why Efforts to Throw Rep Cawthorn Off the Ballot Are Likely Unconstitutional

Some have suggested that Section 3(14th Amendment) prohibits those who supported January 6, the attack on Capitol and other efforts to change the 2020 elections results from seeking public office. Democratic party lawyer Marc Elias, for instance, has suggested that Section 3 should bar some Republican members of Congress from running for reelection,  Some voters in North Carolina have even filed a complaint to keep Rep. Madison Cawthorn off the ballot.

North Carolina voters could have valid reasons to vote against Rep. Cawthorn for their Representative in Congress. (I certainly wouldn’t. But forcing him to withdraw from the ballot would be a bad idea, Professor Derek Muller points out in this article Wall Street JournalMost likely, unconstitutional.

Professor Muller’s article:

The U.S. Constitution does not allow for states to create qualifications to serve in Congress, or to exclude potential candidates for failure to meet these requirements. But that’s exactly what North Carolina State Board of Elections wants to do for Rep. Madison Cawthorn. . . .

If the [North Crolina state election]The board tried to take Mr. Cawthorn out of the vote. 1995 saw the Supreme Court hold in U.S. U.S.A term-limits Amendment in Arkansas could not be applied to Congressmen. According to the court’s explanation, all qualifications in the Constitution are “fixed, exclusive.” While a state might believe that it has acted appropriately when it enforces an existing constitution qualification, the court explained that it sometimes adds a condition to it months in advance of Election Day. . . .

Even if Mr. Cawthorn were an “insurrectionist”—a matter of legal and factual debate—it wouldn’t be a permanent bar to holding office. According to the Constitution, Congress can remove such disability by two-thirds vote in each House. While we do not know when Congress will vote to exclude from the House any of the Jan. 6riot participants, it is evident that the Constitution does not say.

Because the Constitution gives Congress that power, states can’t examine a candidate’s qualifications. The people must make the decision to remove a constitutionally unqualified candidate from the House if they elect him.

You can read more about Prof. Muller’s reasons why lawsuits or other attempts to “insurrectionists” are not allowed on the ballot by clicking here.