Couy Griffin Constitutionally Disqualified from Holding Public Office

Otero County Commissioner and “Cowboys 4 Trump” founder Couy Griffin has been found to have engaged in insurrection against the United States and has been permanently disqualified from holding public office pursuant to the Disqualification Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article XIV, Section III). In an Order issued this morning, Judge Francis Mathew of New Mexico’s First Judicial District found that “the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol and the surrounding planning, mobilization, and incitement were an ‘insurrection’ against the Constitution of the United States,” and that Griffin engaged in that insurrection after taking an oath of office to uphold the Constitution that he then sought to overturn. 

Judge Mathew’s decision marks the first time since 1869 that any court has disqualified a public official under Article XIV, Section III. While many courts have referred to the events of January 6, 2021 as insurrectionist in nature, Judge Mathew’s decision also marks the first time that any court has specifically ruled that the events of January 6, 2021 were in fact an “insurrection.” 

The effort to secure Griffin’s disqualification from public office was spearheaded by a team of attorneys from the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”), as well as New Mexico attorneys Joe Goldberg, Chris Dodd, and Amber Fayerberg. Levi Monagle and Aaron Whiteley of HMHW drafted and filed an amicus brief in support of the effort on behalf of the nonpartisan good-governance organization Common Cause. 

American democracy is as imperiled as it has ever been, and people like Couy Griffin are the ones menacing it. Today’s ruling provides a powerful tool for combatting a very particular and very dangerous brand of lawlessness, and HMHW stands with those who will have fought and will continue to fight crucial battles in defense of the rule of law.

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