- The Washington Times
Tuesday, May 10, 2022

OPINION:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is something of a political loose cannon, and the Georgia Republican has been known to shift her tongue into high gear without first engaging her impulse controls.

But then again, there’s a bipartisan surfeit of that on Capitol Hill. It’s not for nothing, for example, that Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, has been dubbed “Kerosene Maxine” for her incendiary remarks.


That said, it’s not a defense of Mrs. Greene’s sometimes gratuitously inflammatory rhetoric to suggest that it should be left up to the voters of the 14th Congressional District in northwest Georgia to decide whether they want the conservative freshman lawmaker to continue representing them in Congress. (In 2020, she defeated her hapless Democratic rival, Kevin Van Ausdal, with 74.7% of the vote, after he withdrew from the race nearly two months before the election.)

A Democratic “dark money” group with the shameless misnomer “Free Speech for People” should have zero say as to who Republicans in Georgia-14 can vote for in the May 24 GOP primary.

Thanks to a ruling Friday by a Georgia judge, it won’t.

State Administrative Law Judge Charles Beaudrot rejected arguments from a group of five voters in the district, fronting the lawsuit for the dark-money outfit described euphemistically in the mainstream media as “a national election and campaign-finance reform group.”

With no sense of irony, “Free Speech for People” sought to weaponize the Fourteenth Amendment to disqualify Mrs. Greene, 47, and kick her off the ballot — thereby muzzling her free speech.

On March 24, two months to the day before the primary, the dark-money group filed suit contending, as the liberal New Yorker magazine explained it, that “Greene’s statements and activities related to the attack on the Capitol on January 6th make the congresswoman an insurrectionist.”

A clause in the post-Civil War Fourteenth Amendment expressly prohibits those who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States from holding public office.

Clutching at straws (and straw men), “Free Speech for People” contended that Mrs. Greene’s reference to supporters of then-President Trump rallying on the National Mall on Jan. 6 as “our 1776 moment” was somehow an incitement to violence.

In a leap of logic that would make a pole vaulter proud, the lawsuit asserted that Mrs. Greene was thereby rendered “constitutionally disqualified from congressional office and, as such, ineligible to run as a candidate under state and federal law.”

To the contrary, not only did Mrs. Greene not take part in the so-called “insurrection,” she cautioned the crowd that day in a tweet: “Be safe. Be smart. Stay peaceful. Obey the laws. This is not a time for violence.”

That doesn’t sound to us like the words of an “insurrectionist.” Nor, apparently, did it sound that way to the judge.

“Heated political rhetoric? Yes,” the Beaudrot wrote in his ruling. “Encouragement to supporters of efforts to prevent certification of the election of President Joe Biden? Yes. Encouragement to attend the Save America Rally or other rallies and to demonstrate against the certification of the election results? Yes. A call to arms for consummation of a pre-planned violent revolution? No.”

If they think Mrs. Greene no longer represents them, Republican primary voters in Georgia-14 in two weeks will get to choose from among no fewer than five GOP challengers, including one being funded by elements of the national Republican establishment.

“Free Speech for People” is unlikely to have any better luck in its challenges—on similarly flimsy grounds—to the candidacies of Republican Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona, among others.

Nor should it. Let the voters decide.


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