Federal judge halts legal challenge to Madison Cawthorn’s candidacy
A federal judge on Friday blocked a legal challenge to Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-N.C.) candidacy filed over allegations he helped spur the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on Capitol Hill.
Richard Myers, a Trump-appointed federal judge in the eastern district of North Carolina, approved Cawthorn’s request for a preliminary injunction to the challenge to his reelection bid.
Eleven North Carolina voters filed the suit to the State Board of Elections in January, arguing that Cawthorn’s comments in the speech shortly before the insurrection violate the 14th Amendment, which states in part that no person “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.”
Cawthorn the next month sued to have the effort dismissed, leading to his win Friday. However, the State Board of Elections could appeal Myers’ decision.
Rob Fein, the legal director of Free Speech For People, which is the co-lead counsel for the 11 voters, called for Friday’s decision to be reversed on appeal.
“This ruling, by Chief Judge Richard Myers II, a Trump appointee, is wrong on the law and would block the State Board of Elections from determining whether Cawthorn is ineligible under the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause of the US Constitution. The ruling must be reversed on appeal, and the right of voters to bring this challenge to Cawthorn’s eligibility must be preserved,” Fein said in a statement.
Cawthorn, meanwhile, hailed the ruling as a “HUGE VICTORY.”
Cawthorn, a conservative firebrand, is running in the newly created 13th Congressional District. He’s tied himself closely to former President Trump and railed over unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential race.
“The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice,” he said the morning of the insurrection. “Make no mistake about it, they do not want you to be heard.”
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