It’s a bleak sign for Democrats that, as of Wednesday, 24 members of their own House caucus will be retiring in advance of the 2022 midterms, a portent of a Republican red wave.
If one of the Democrats’ slimiest lawyers has anything to do with it, however, that’ll have nothing on the number of House Republicans forced into retirement — up to 139, to be exact.
Marc Elias, best known as the Hillary Clinton lawyer who helped bankroll the infamous Steele dossier and for running a 2020 blitz to change vote-by-mail laws in numerous states, is one of the voices on the left floating the vague idea that any individual House member connected to the Capitol incursion of Jan. 6, 2021, shouldn’t be allowed to run for reelection.
Elias is far from an outlier — he’s arguably the Democrats’ go-to lawyer whenever dirty work needs to be done, whether it’s trying to overturn House elections in Iowa or voter integrity laws in Texas. (We’ve been cataloguing all of this here at The Western Journal — and we’ll continue pulling back the curtain on backroom players like Elias when others won’t. You can help us in our fight by subscribing.)
Elias’ challenge to Republicans, such as it is, hinges on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. That Civil War-era clause, meant to disqualify former Confederate officials from office, barred anyone from holding an electoral position who had previously taken an oath to the United States of America and “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
On Dec. 20, Elias tweeted about the possibility of legal action on that front: “My prediction for 2022: Before the midterm election, we will have a serious discussion about whether individual Republican House Members are disqualified by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment from serving in Congress,” he wrote.
My prediction for 2022: Before the midterm election, we will have a serious discussion about whether individual Republican House Members are disqualified by Section 3 of the 14th Amendment from serving in Congress.
We may even see litigation. pic.twitter.com/pF7P2fw0kn
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) December 21, 2021
In August, he published a similar hint.
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress…who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”-US Constitution
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) August 7, 2021
All of this could be merely seen as the harmless rantings of a crank, even if a powerful crank. However, as Breitbart senior editor Joel Pollak pointed out in a Wednesday piece, there’s a bit more smoke here than just a few errant Elias tweets regarding the 14th Amendment.
On Wednesday, two liberal groups — one called Free Speech For People, the other billing itself as Our Revolution — released a media statement calling for state officials to ban those who participated in “the January 6, 2021 insurrection” from running.
“Nonprofit public interest organizations Free Speech For People and Our Revolution today announced a partnership to urge Secretaries of State to bar elected officials who engaged in the January 6, 2021 insurrection from appearing on any future ballot,” the Wednesday release stated.
“Secretaries of State have a duty to ensure that candidates who seek to appear on their state ballots meet the constitutional qualifications for serving in public office,” Alexandra Flores-Quilty, campaign director for Free Speech For People, is quoted as saying in the release.
“Those who violated their oath of office by engaging in the violent January 6th insurrection do not meet these terms. Thus, we are urging election officials to make clear that insurrectionists such as President Trump and his Congressional allies are barred from ever again holding public office, as is required under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.”
“On many levels, our democracy is under threat, and grassroots activists are ready to stand up to defend it,” added Paco Fabián, director of campaigns for Our Revolution.
“We need to demand that our election officers follow the rule of law and ensure that current and former elected officials who participated in the January 6th insurrection are barred from appearing on any future ballot.”
The content itself is little more than a word salad of Capitol incursion demagogy, but it does give some idea of where efforts to disqualify Republicans might begin. According to the news release, the groups’ challenge, at least in its current form, is based around an Oct. 24 Rolling Stone article in which several unnamed sources alleged several GOP members of Congress were involved with the planning phases of the Jan. 6 protest rally — not the Capitol incursion that followed.
The sources named Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia as having some role in planning the rallies.
Nothing of substance has emerged in the interim, although we got plenty of Democrats calling for the expulsion of the members involved:
Every member of Congress takes an oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Any member who helped plan or was complicit in the Jan. 6 insurrection violated that oath, and should be immediately removed from office. https://t.co/gl80J5JaPP
— Rep. Norma Torres (@NormaJTorres) October 25, 2021
My resolution to investigate and expel the Members of Congress who helped incite the deadly insurrection on our Capitol is just waiting for a vote.
It’s inexcusable to wait any longer.
Pass H.Res 25. https://t.co/HimDSDNc1I
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) October 25, 2021
This Rolling Stone article about January 6 is highly disturbing. No one should be above the law, including Members of Congress and former White House Staff.
And if pardons were indeed discussed in advance, why would that be? Because folks knew crimes were about to be committed. https://t.co/3parDHebmL
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 25, 2021
Expelling a handful of Republicans from deep-red districts isn’t going to do much for the Democratic political hopes. However, it’s worth remembering that in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol riot, Democrats wanted quite a bit more. Missouri Democrat Rep. Cori Bush pushed a measure that would investigate and potentially expel members she thought were responsible for the riot. Late last month, she floated that trial balloon again:
We should commemorate the 1-year-anniversary of January 6th by passing my H.Res 25 to investigate and expel the members of Congress who helped incite the violent insurrection at our Capitol.
— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@RepCori) December 27, 2021
What could this include? Writing in support of Bush’s measure on Wednesday in liberal stalwart The Nation, the publication’s national correspondent John Nichols argued that “Ethics Committee members in the House and the Senate should also consider appropriate actions that might be taken with regard to the eight senators and 139 representatives who, after the January 6 rioters left the Capitol, voted to sustain one or both of the objections to the election results that were under consideration when the Trump supporters attacked. Did they not give aid and comfort to the coup attempt by supporting the program of the insurrectionists? Should they not be held to account?”
What Elias, Bush, Nichols and all the rest fail to mention is that there’s no evidence these people aided or abetted anything in the nature of “insurrection.” In the case of the representatives named in the Rolling Stone piece, the typical progressive reader may find their actions distasteful, but it takes the frothing partisan to read the article and find evidence of coup-plotting.
As for the 139 GOP members of the House who didn’t vote to certify the Electoral College results that made Joe Biden the president, they also weren’t trying to “overturn democracy” or anything of the sort.
In one of the most disputed presidential elections in the 232 years since the position was established, they wanted a closer look at the results — something, it’s worth remembering, that Democrats have done in years where the results ought to have been met with far less hesitancy.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the bloody flag of Jan. 6, 2021, is the only thing Democrats have to counter the futility of President Joe Biden’s first disastrous year in office, one that doesn’t promise to get any better as the calendar flips to 2022.
Not only that, they’re going to wave it above the head of every Republican to the right of Liz Cheney — and, if we’re to divine anything from Marc Elias’ tweets, this could involve a series of ugly — and baseless — legal battles.
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