Greene lawyer argues her efforts to deny Biden victory qualify as ‘legitimate political speech’
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Ga.) attorney on Friday argued that her efforts to deny President Biden’s 2020 electoral victory qualified as “legitimate political speech” and slammed a legal challenge to remove her from the Georgia primary ballot as a plain attempt to deny thousands of her constituents the right to vote.
The opening statement from attorney James Bopp came during a hearing to determine whether Greene is eligible to serve in public office. A group of Georgia voters are challenging her candidacy, arguing that her alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol effectively disqualifies her from running for or serving in Congress.
In his opening argument, Bopp argued that Greene’s efforts to deny Biden’s victory — including her calls for a response to Congress’s certification of the election results — are protected under the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
While he said that the Jan. 6 riot was “despicable,” he argued that Greene should not be held responsible for the actions of those who perpetrated the attack.
Bopp also argued that if Greene is ultimately disqualified from the ballot, it would deny residents of her district the right to cast their ballots for the candidate of their choice.
“The right to vote is at stake, right here right now, because they want to deny the right to vote to thousands of people in the 14th District of Georgia by having Greene removed from the ballot,” he said, later adding: “Our democracy is at stake. It should be the voters … who decide our options.”
The group of voters challenging Greene’s candidacy argue that a provision of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment known as the disqualification clause effectively prohibits Greene from holding federal office because of her alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
That clause, which was passed in the wake of the Civil War, bans any person from holding federal office who has previously taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and who has “engaged in insurrection” against the United States.
In an opening statement, Ron Fein, who’s representing the group of voters, argued that while Greene may have not actively participated in the Jan. 6 riot herself, she nonetheless played a crucial role in inciting the attack.
“She was not on the Capitol steps urging the attackers to breach police lines and smash through the doors on Jan. 6. … Different figures in this larger effort had different roles,” Fein said. “Marjorie Taylor Greene, nonetheless, played an important role.”