New Mexico official ordered removed from office over Jan. 6 participation
A federal judge ordered that “Cowboys for Trump” founder Couy Griffin be removed from his position as Otero County commissioner on Tuesday over his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
New Mexico District Court Judge Francis J. Mathew found that Griffin had engaged in insurrection during the Jan. 6 riot and was constitutionally disqualified from holding federal or state office, including his current position.
“This is a historic win for accountability for the January 6th insurrection and the efforts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power in the United States,” said Noah Bookbinder, the president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), in a press release.
The watchdog group and several law firms filed lawsuits against Griffin in March, after he was found guilty of illegally entering the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021.
The group alleged — and Mathew agreed — that Griffin violated Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which bars elected officials from “engaging in insurrection or rebellion.”
Even though Griffin did not personally engage in violence, Mathew said Griffin’s decision to join the mob on Jan. 6 and trespass on restricted grounds constituted insurrection. The judge also said Griffin “normalized and incited violence” before, during and after Jan. 6.
Mathew’s decision represents the first time since 1869 that a court has disqualified an elected official over the insurrection rule, according to CREW.
“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,” CREW’s Bookbinder said.