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New Mexico official removed under 14th Amendment warns Americans as Trump targeted with same strategy

 September 9, 2023

The ongoing debate over Donald Trump's potential 2024 presidential bid has intensified, with questions arising about the 14th Amendment's potential application, which could prevent the former commander in chief from participating in the next presidential race due to the unrest of Jan. 6, 2021.

The 14th Amendment is a familiar concept to Couy Griffin, a former Otero County, New Mexico commissioner.

Griffin was ousted from his position a year ago due to an intervention by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) invoking Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, as ABC News reported.

Unpacking the Constitutional Clause: Section 3

Section 3 delineates that any individual who has previously taken an oath to uphold the Constitution but later supports insurrection or rebellion is ineligible for future office. This prohibition, however, can be overridden by a two-thirds congressional vote.

A state judge sanctioned Griffin's removal following his conviction for trespassing at the U.S. Capitol, though he maintains that he didn't enter with the violent crowd. Despite challenging the decision twice in the New Mexico Supreme Court, Griffin's appeals have been unsuccessful. He was imprisoned in Washington, D.C., following a guilty verdict in 2022.

Trump in the Crosshairs

In a recent conversation, Griffin emphasized his belief that the 14th Amendment shouldn't be used against politicians, regardless of their political alignment.

Griffin said, "I don't care if you're talking about a conservative or a liberal -- you shouldn't be able to use a court to remove an elected official."

He stated, "That was their [CREW's] plan. They started with me. It's never been about Couy Griffin, it's been about Trump."

On Wednesday, CREW filed a lawsuit in Colorado aiming to block Trump from the state's ballot.

While some are advocating for Trump's removal based on the 14th Amendment's provisions, a Trump campaign spokesperson refuted the theory, asserting, "There is no legal basis for this effort except in the minds of those who are pushing it."

Brad Raffensperger, Georgia's secretary of State, who previously countered Trump's election fraud claims, agrees. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, he expressed that voters should have the final say.

However, Griffin perceives that his own case might be setting the stage for Trump's potential removal under the same constitutional provisions. He indicated that recent conservative legal opinions on the topic didn't come as a shock to him. "Why they did what they did to me was only to get Trump," he insisted.

In response, CREW defended its stance, with its president, Noah Bookbinder, emphasizing the need to "defend our republic both today and in the future."

A Look Back at Griffin's Day

Griffin, also the founder of Cowboys for Trump, remains unapologetic about his Jan. 6 actions, which he claims were non-violent. However, a court ruling from last year, spurred by a lawsuit from several New Mexico residents and CREW, utilized the Civil War-era provision to disqualify Griffin. This marked the first time in a century the provision had been employed.

The judge deemed the Jan. 6 Capitol attack as an insurrection and ruled Griffin's involvement, including his significant time on the inauguration platform and encouragement to the mob, as evidence of his support. While Griffin didn't resort to violence, he was found to have disrupted Congress's election certification processes.

When probed about his Jan. 6 intentions, Griffin responded that he was simply upholding his oath of office due to his skepticism about the 2020 election's integrity. Even so, numerous bipartisan officials have validated the 2020 election's credibility.

Concluding his sentiments about this type of effort to block individuals fromm public office, Griffin expressed, "It should be a will of the people, not of the courts."