Challenge to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Candidacy Can Move Forward, Judge Rules

A federal judge is allowing a challenge to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-Georgia) candidacy to move forward, noting in her ruling that Greene’s lawyers failed to provide enough evidence that such a challenge would ultimately fail.

Judge Amy Totenberg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled on Monday that an effort from a group of Georgia voters in Greene’s congressional district, represented by an organization called Free Speech for People, could proceed.

“This case involves a whirlpool of colliding constitutional interests of public import,” Totenberg said. “The novelty of the factual and historical posture of this case — especially when assessed in the context of a preliminary injunction motion reviewed on a fast track — has made resolution of the complex legal issues at stake here particularly demanding.”

Totenberg also stated in her ruling that Greene’s lawyers did not spend enough time arguing why they would prevail in the challenge against her candidacy. Instead, her lawyers were more focused on the May 24 primary election date, stating that there wasn’t time to consider such a challenge.

Ron Fein, legal director for Free Speech for People, lauded the ruling as a “well-reasoned opinion,” adding that “Georgia voters who filed this challenge against Greene have the right to have their challenge heard.”

“None of Greene’s objections to the Georgia state challenge have any merit,” Fein contended.

The voters challenging Greene’s candidacy do so under a provision of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which bars any person who has previously engaged in “insurrection” or “rebellion against” the United States, and who has previously served in office or in any government position, from running for office in the future.

“Greene voluntarily aided and engaged in an insurrection to obstruct the peaceful transfer of presidential power” on January 6, 2021, the challengers stated in their complaint, “disqualifying her from serving as a Member of Congress under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and rendering her ineligible under state and federal law to be a candidate for such office.”

Georgia state law is unique in that voters can sue to challenge the eligibility of candidates for office — doing so, according to statutes, places the “entire burden” of “affirmatively establish[ing]” the candidate’s eligibility to run for office on the candidate themself, the challengers to Greene noted.

Greene has numerous links to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. She took part in the scheme to vote against the certification of electors from states President Joe Biden won in the Electoral College, and reportedly coordinated with Trump loyalists who had gathered outside of the White House that morning briefly before the attack.

Greene recently downplayed the events of January 6, in which hundreds of Trump loyalists attacked the Capitol and threatened the lives of several lawmakers. “The American people are fed up with this over-dramatization of a riot that happened here at the Capitol one time,” Greene said earlier this month.