Lawsuits seeking to disqualify three Republican lawmakers from this year’s ballot have been dismissed by a judge in Phoenix. Those lawsuits were made because these three lawmakers participated in or helped organize the Jan. 6, 2021, rally in Washington that led to an unprecedented attack on Congress.
After making this decision public from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury, it means that Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs and state Rep. Mark Finchem remain on the primary ballot barring a reversal by the state Supreme Court. Finchem is running for Secretary of State, Arizona’s chief election officer, while Gosar and Biggs are seeking reelection.
The lawsuits filed on behalf of a handful of Arizona voters alleged that Gosar, Biggs and Finchem can’t hold office because they participated in an insurrection, citing a section of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. constitution enacted after the Civil War, per report.
In the actual attack on Congress that was intended to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s win, none of the lawmakers are accused of participating in it.
The lawmakers’ attorneys said Congress created no enforcement mechanism for the 14th Amendment, barring a criminal conviction, with which Coury agreed. He noted that Congress proposed such a law in the wake of the attack on Congress but it is not been enacted.
“Therefore, given the current state of the law and in accordance with the United States Constitution, plaintiffs have no private right of action to assert claims under the disqualification clause,” wrote Coury.
“The text of the Constitution is mandatory. It sets forth the single arbiter of the qualifications of members of Congress; that single arbiter is Congress,” he added.