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HomeGeneralSupreme Court Declines Former County Commissioner’s Appeal Over January 6 Riot Despite...

Supreme Court Declines Former County Commissioner’s Appeal Over January 6 Riot Despite Sparing Trump

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The highest court in the United States declined to hear an appeal on Monday from a former county commissioner in New Mexico who faced removal from office due to his involvement in the January 6 attack.

This decision upholds a significant ruling enforcing a constitutional prohibition on insurrectionists holding public office. The commissioner in question, Couy Griffin, stands as the sole American public official thus far to be ousted from office for his participation in the events of January 6.

Based on language in the 14th Amendment, which prohibits insurrectionists from occupying office, a New Mexico judge stripped him of his position in 2022 following his conviction for trespassing on Capitol grounds. The New Mexico Supreme Court dismissed an initial appeal in the state.

The US Supreme Court’s refusal to revisit the case follows a recent ruling stating that states cannot use the 14th Amendment to prevent former President Trump from seeking the presidency without specific legislation from Congress.

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While affirming that states cannot disqualify individuals from federal positions under the 14th Amendment, the court clarified that “States may disqualify persons holding or attempting to hold state office.”

No explanation was provided for the court’s rejection of Griffin’s appeal, and there were no recorded dissents. Griffin expressed disappointment with the decision in response, remarking, “It’s a disappointment like I haven’t felt in a long time.”

He said, “As I sit right now, the only office I can run for is the executive office. Trump needs a vice president who can stand strong through the hardest of times. And I can only pray I’d be considered.”

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Widely regarded as one of the initial examinations of whether the language of the 14th Amendment, crafted in the 19th century post-Civil War era, could be applied to actions stemming from January 6, Griffin’s case underscores the legal complexities surrounding accountability for the events of that day.

One of the individuals serving as a commissioner in Otero County, situated on the Texas border and home to approximately 69,000 residents, found himself in controversy. The county, which had overwhelmingly supported Trump in the 2020 election, became a focal point of attention due to the actions of this commissioner.

As part of the body responsible for certifying the election results, Griffin actively encouraged David Clements, a prominent figure known for denying the election outcome, to challenge the results within the county.

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Consequently, when it was time to certify the election in 2022, Griffin and his fellow commissioners declined, citing vague suspicions of voter fraud. This decision led to legal action, with the New Mexico secretary of state filing a lawsuit against the county to compel them to certify the election, which they eventually did.

In response to the Supreme Court’s refusal to entertain an appeal related to this matter, Noah Bookbinder, the president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew), expressed his perspective. He emphasized the significance of the decision in affirming January 6 as an insurrection and maintaining the applicability of the 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause for state officials.

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