New Mexico judge declares GOP county official an ‘insurrectionist,’ removed and disqualified from elected office

The legal and political establishment has sought to harshly punish any and all who were involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021, including those individuals who never actually engaged in violence or even entered the actual Capitol building.

The latest example of such is a New Mexico county official who was just removed from his position and barred from holding public office in the future by a state judge citing a post-Civil War-era constitutional provision dealing with “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States, the Daily Wire reported.

That official is Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin (R), co-founder of the “Cowboys for Trump” group, who was convicted earlier this year on what was essentially a federal misdemeanor charge of trespassing for his being present on Capitol grounds during the Jan. 6 riot and sentenced to time served, a year of supervised release, some community service, and a fine of $3,000.

Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment

Unfortunately for Griffin, a few New Mexico residents, none of whom reside in his county, teamed up with a left-leaning organization known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and filed a civil lawsuit to have Griffin removed and disqualified from office under the auspices of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

That section of the Constitution states, in relevant part: “No person shall … hold any office, civil or military, … who, having previously taken an oath, … as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

The purpose of that section of the Fourteenth Amendment was to prohibit former Confederate officers and officials from holding elected office following the Civil War, though the prohibition was later effectively repealed by the Amnesty Act of 1872 and, in fact, the judge in the case had to reach back to 1860s to find prior precedent of the section actually being used to disqualify certain individuals from holding office.

The judge declares Griffin an “insurrectionist” who should be disqualified from office

Nonetheless, in a 49-page ruling that read more like a screed, New Mexico District Judge Francis Mathew essentially characterized Griffin as a full-fledged and unrepentent enemy of the state who helped plan, mobilize, and engage in an actual “insurrection” against the federal government, and ordered him immediately removed from office and barred from ever serving in any public office in the future.

Judge Mathew decreed that Griffin’s attempts to “sanitize his actions are without merit and contrary to the evidence” and further declared that his “protestations” were “not credible and amounted to nothing more than attempting to put lipstick on a pig.”

“The irony of Mr. Griffin’s argument that this court should refrain from applying the law and consider the will of the people in District Two of Otero County who retained him as a county commissioner against a recall effort as he attempts to defend his participation in an insurrection by a mob whose goal, by his own admission, was to set aside the results of a free, fair and lawful election by a majority of the people of the entire country (the will of the people) has not escaped this court,” the judge added.

In the end, Mathew determined that because Griffin had taken an oath to defend the Constitution, and because the Capitol riot was an actual “insurrection,” and because Griffin actually “engaged in” that “insurrection,” he was therefore disqualified from holding office under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.

A new precedent has been set

CBS News reported that this was the first time in more than 150 years that anyone has been disqualified from office under that particular provision and the first time ever that a court has formally declared the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to be an actual “insurrection,” as other attempts to use the provision against other elected Republican officials have thus far failed.

“Protecting American democracy means ensuring those who violate their oaths to the Constitution are held responsible,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement, according to CBS. “This decision makes clear that any current or former public officials who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and then participated in the January 6th insurrection can and will be removed and barred from government service for their actions.”

Latest News