Opinion | It's Time for Democrats to Take the Gloves Off and Ban Seditious Republicans From Congress

  
Via:  Nerm_L  •  3 months ago  •  18 comments

By:   Thom Hartman (Common Dreams)

Opinion | It's Time for Democrats to Take the Gloves Off and Ban Seditious Republicans From Congress
President Biden has correctly identified these people as "semi-fascists" and called them out to their faces.

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When does protest become insurrection?  The entire argument depends upon the events of Jan. 6th being deemed an insurrection.  And it appears that arbitrary partisanship is highly prevalent in declaring the events of Jan. 6th an insurrection.

Why were the events of Jan. 6th an insurrection rather than a protest?  Was it because only the Federal government was targeted rather than local and state governments?  Is it because only the Office of President is the Federal government?  Is it because challenging one election out of thousands of elections is an insurrection?

If MAGA protesters had burned a city, like Minneapolis or Portland, would that have only been a protest?  If MAGA protesters had violently confronted police in Kenosha would that have only been a riot?  If MAGA protesters would have only broken the windows of businesses, painted graffiti on churches, and ripped down statues in Washington D.C. would that have only been a 'free speech' activity? 

Biden's self-righteous (and self-serving) outrage could very well be built upon a partisan lie.  Protest or insurrection?  Seems to depend entirely on buying into Biden's botched up politics.  Biden has botched up everything else.  Now Biden has botched up democracy, too.


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Before I even get into the guts of this argument, just ask yourself: if Democratic Members of Congress had engaged in a seditious conspiracy to overthrow our government to put or keep a Democratic president in power against both the popular vote and the Electoral College, and Republicans controlled Congress right now, what would those Republicans be doing?

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution clearly says that if an elected official "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the United States and the laws of the United states, "or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof," that elected official may not "hold any office, civil or military" including those who are "a member of Congress."

It's time to enforce the Constitution, and a judge in New Mexico just kicked off the process. Democrats need to jump on this with the vigor of Trump crashing a Miss Teen USA dressing room.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution clearly says that if an elected official "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the United States and the laws of the United states, "or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof," that elected official may not "hold any office, civil or military" including those who are "a member of Congress," a member of "any State legislature" or "an executive or judicial office of any state."

It was ratified on July 9, 1868, after the Civil War, so courts could prevent traitors from the Confederacy from serving in any political office, and expel those who may have made it through over the years. With a two-thirds vote of both the House and the Senate, the 14th amendment says, such former insurrectionists could be re-admitted, but that's a pretty high bar.

The last time the Amendment was used was in May of 1869, when a Black man named Caesar Griffin was arrested and convicted of a crime and then appealed the conviction because, he claimed, the judge in the case—a former Confederate slave-holder and the Speaker of the Virginia House when that state seceded from the Union—was illegally a judge because, as a legislator, he had given "aid and comfort" to the Confederate "insurrection" against the United States.

The courts agreed and the Judge, Hugh W. Sheffey, was forced to resign his seat in the winter of 1869 when he refused to pledge allegiance to the US; he went back to practicing law in Staunton, Virginia until his death. The accused criminal, Caesar Griffin, was re-prosecuted by a different non-traitor judge for a slightly different charge (to avoid double jeopardy) and ended up back in prison.

This week a court in New Mexico revived the issue, kicking Couy Griffin out of his seat as an Otero County commissioner based on that provision of the 14th Amendment.

While he tried to defend himself by claiming that he'd not engaged in any violence while in the Capitol on January 6th and that he had a First Amendment "free speech" right to hold political office on the county commission, District Court Judge Francis Mathew was having none of it.

By simply being there on January 6th and offering encouragement to his more violent colleagues in the insurrection, the court determined, he more than met the criteria of "giving aid and comfort" to the people directly engaged in violent insurrection.

Five members of the current Congress have so far been charged under this provision of the 14th Amendment: Madison Cawthorn, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and Jim Banks.

The charges against Cawthorn were thrown out because, just four years after the 14th Amendment was ratified, President Ulysses Grant determined it wasn't effective and was, in fact, aiding Klan recruiting: Congress granted a general amnesty to all but the most senior members of the Confederacy with the Amnesty Act of 1872.

That law decreed that:

"[A]ll political disabilities imposed by the third section of the fourteenth article of amendments of the Constitution of the United States are hereby removed from all persons whomsoever, except Senators and Representatives of the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh Congresses , officers in the judicial, military, and naval service of the United States, heads of departments, and foreign ministers of the United States."

Cawthorn argued, and U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II—a Trump-appointed Federalist Society judge—agreed, that the Amnesty Act not only pardoned all the traitorous Confederates of that time but pre-pardoned all future traitors to the United States, even though the law says no such thing.

As Ron Fein, legal director of Free Speech For People (who participated in the case), said of the Trump-appointed judge's decision:

"According to this court ruling, the 1872 amnesty law, by a trick of wording that—although no one noticed it at the time, or in the 150 years since—completely undermined Congress's careful decision to write the insurrectionist disqualification clause to apply to future insurrections. This is patently absurd."

Marjorie Taylor Green's case went to Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Christopher S. Brasher, who recently partially retired after being accused of verbally attacking a Black defendant before his court by "physically pointing at her, angrily raising his voice, and turning visibly red."

Judge Brasher found that "there is no evidence to show that Rep. Greene participated in the invasion itself," and refused to allow the parties arguing she should be kept off the ballot to engage in discovery, which, they argued, could have turned up both her alleged text messages to insurrection organizers and her open statements to the public in support of the insurrection.

"[P]re-hearing discovery is improper," Judge Brasher ruled, while blocking access to evidence of her possible crimes and freeing Greene to run for re-election.

The challenge to Congressman Jim Banks, a major Trump supporter, was heard before the Indiana Elections Commission, which ruled 4-0 that he could remain on the ballot. Banks' lawyer argued that "Congressman Banks has publicly commented that he did not support that conduct, nor did he engage in it, and he has also called for the prosecution of unlawful conduct that occurred that day."

That argument—essentially that he didn't participate in the insurrection and later disapproved of it—was apparently enough for the commissioners. After being confirmed on the ballot, Banks, who voted against certifying President Biden's election, released a belligerent statement, saying:

"Many Democrats in Washington hope to weaponize the 14th amendment to disenfranchise President Trump's 74 million voters. I hope they watched today's unanimous decision."

The case against Biggs and Gosar was shot down by an Arizona judge who argued that even though the Constitution outlaws such behavior through the 14th Amendment, Congress never passed implementing legislation. Because of this failure, he said, this was an issue for Congress to resolve rather than the courts.

"Therefore, given the current state of the law and in accordance with the United States Constitution," wrote Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury, "plaintiffs have no private right of action to assert claims under the disqualification clause. … The text of the Constitution is mandatory," Coury wrote. "It sets forth the single arbiter of the qualifications of members of Congress; that single arbiter is Congress."

So, right now, the score is 5-1, although all the cases of members of Congress who were allowed to continue to run for office were, arguably, tainted by politics or brought in weak venues like Banks' election commission or Coury's "not my responsibility" courtroom.

But what about members of the House and Senate who, we're finding, were actually in direct communication with the armed insurrectionists or Trump's henchmen?

Multiple Senators and House members were texting and carrying on phone calls with Trump and Giuliani on and immediately before the attack, as the January 6th Select Committee has found. Some were even talking with Trump or his people during the peak of the January 6th attack.

Others, like Lauren Bobert, stand accused of tweeting the location (or absence thereof) of Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress as the Republican mob attacked with the clear intent to kill Pelosi and Pence.

The case of Couy Griffin was the easiest to prosecute under the 14th Amendment because he was caught in the act on January 6th and later convicted of it in court; the others were less directly involved or, if they were, apparently Trump-sympathetic judges refused to allow evidence to be entered in court.

But as more and more evidence becomes public of Republican members of the House and Senate being directly or closely involved in this first attack on Washington, DC since the War of 1812, the pressure to deprive them of their ability to stay in Congress will grow.

As mentioned in the opening paragraph of this article, if it had been Hillary Clinton who'd worked to seize the White House in 2016, you can bet that blocking her collaborators in Congress would be the least of the efforts Republicans would have undertaken. She'd more likely be facing the fate of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, along with any Congressional co-conspirators.

President Biden has correctly identified these people as "semi-fascists" and called them out to their faces. Now Democrats in Congress—particularly as more information comes out through the January 6th Committee and the efforts of the FBI—need to take the gloves off and challenge the right of insurrectionists and those giving them "aid and comfort" to continue to serve in Congress.


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Nerm_L
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Nerm_L    3 months ago

Thom Hartman doth gaslight too much, methinks.  But with Joe Biden as a role model, we can expect no less.

 
 
 
gooseisback
Sophomore Silent
2  gooseisback    3 months ago

You mean something other than weaponizing the FBI and DOJ.  Maybe the IRS with guns, more voting boxes, can we open the border any further??

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  gooseisback @2    3 months ago
You mean something other than weaponizing the FBI and DOJ.  Maybe the IRS with guns, more voting boxes, can we open the border any further??

You mean the unelected Federal bureaucracy protecting democracy?  Careful, pointing out that autocratic central planners are only protecting themselves could be considered seditious.  

 
 
 
gooseisback
Sophomore Silent
2.1.1  gooseisback  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1    3 months ago
unelected Federal bureaucracy protecting democracy? 

Oh yes, parents at school board meetings are terrorist, that's protecting democracy! 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3  Sean Treacy    3 months ago

ultiple Senators and House members were texting and carrying on phone calls with Trump and Giuliani on and immediately before the attack,

This is supposed to be a crime? Talking to the President? 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  Sean Treacy @3    3 months ago
This is supposed to be a crime? Talking to the President? 

Only talking to a 'legitimate' President is acceptable.  Guess who determines if a President is 'legitimate'?

 
 
 
gooseisback
Sophomore Silent
3.1.1  gooseisback  replied to  Nerm_L @3.1    3 months ago
Only talking to a 'legitimate' President

Who was President on Jan 6th?

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Freshman Quiet
3.1.2  afrayedknot  replied to  Nerm_L @3.1    3 months ago

“Guess who determines if a President is 'legitimate'?”

The electorate?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
3.1.3  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  gooseisback @3.1.1    3 months ago
Who was President on Jan 6th?

An illegitimate President.  Haven't you been paying attention to the Constitutionally protected 'free speech' activities since 2016?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
3.1.4  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  afrayedknot @3.1.2    3 months ago
The electorate?

Really?  It seems that protesters and the media have more say than the electorate when 'legitimacy' is being decided.  The electorate only votes for the lesser of two evils.

 
 
 
gooseisback
Sophomore Silent
3.1.5  gooseisback  replied to  Nerm_L @3.1.3    3 months ago
An illegitimate President.

So you're denying the results of the 2016 Election? 

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Freshman Quiet
3.1.6  afrayedknot  replied to  Nerm_L @3.1.4    3 months ago
“It seems that protesters and the media have more say than the electorate when 'legitimacy' is being decided.”

We all went to the polls, the votes were counted, sometimes recounted, and the results were unanimously and legally certified.

The ‘protesters’ (being generous here for the sake of argument)  were obvious in their intent to overturn the undeniable will of the electorate.

To forget that darkest of days is frankly unimaginable…and even worse, to conflate it in any attempt at justification is simply reprehensible. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
3.1.7  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  gooseisback @3.1.5    3 months ago
So you're denying the results of the 2016 Election? 

'Duly elected' has as much to do with 'legitimacy' as does birth in determining legitimacy.  Even mainstream Republicans considered Trump a bastard President.

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Freshman Quiet
3.1.8  afrayedknot  replied to  Nerm_L @3.1.7    3 months ago

“…'Duly elected' has as much to do with 'legitimacy' as does birth in determining legitimacy.”

Au contraire.

The former, at least in this country, is an efficiently regulated process that always has and continues to serve us well, regardless of any partisan noise to the contrary.

To be ‘duly elected’ is a societal norm and confirmation of all we hold dear.

The latter is just the opposite. A point of contention for those unfortunate bastards desperately searching for ‘legitimacy’.

A personal search for validation, only serving to muddy the waters in spiteful indignation. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
3.1.9  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  afrayedknot @3.1.8    3 months ago
Au contraire.

The former, at least in this country, is an efficiently regulated process that always has and continues to serve us well, regardless of any partisan noise to the contrary.

To be ‘duly elected’ is a societal norm and confirmation of all we hold dear.

The latter is just the opposite. A point of contention for those unfortunate bastards desperately searching for ‘legitimacy’.

A personal search for validation, only serving to muddy the waters in spiteful indignation. 

Immediately following the 2016 election there were claims that Hillary Clinton was the legitimate President because of the popular vote results.  There were hundreds of marches and rallies across the country to voice opposition to Trump being declared President.  Democrat politicians participated.  Property was damaged.  Arrests were made.  Were they protests or were they insurrections?

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Freshman Quiet
3.1.10  afrayedknot  replied to  Nerm_L @3.1.9    3 months ago

“Were they protests or were they insurrections?”

Neither.

They and the whole country were in shock. Those charged were hopefully held accountable.

A failed candidate they thought would never lose indeed lost. That she lost to the worst alternative imaginable still stings for many.

Way past time to let it go as it only fuels the ongoing conspiracy theorists, your post serving as prime evidence. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
3.1.11  seeder  Nerm_L  replied to  afrayedknot @3.1.10    3 months ago
hey and the whole country were in shock. Those charged were hopefully held accountable.

A failed candidate they thought would never lose indeed lost. That she lost to the worst alternative imaginable still stings for many.

Way past time to let it go as it only fuels the ongoing conspiracy theorists, your post serving as prime evidence. 

I see. They suffered an emotional trauma caused by the 2016 election and can't be held accountable for their actions.  A sort of temporary insanity.

But that excuse avoids providing any insight.  Was the civil unrest and violence following the 2016 election protests or insurrections?

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
4  Tacos!    3 months ago

I think to satisfy due process, these things should be adjudicated in a criminal court.

 
 

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