OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
After Colorado and Maine removed former President Donald Trump from their respective state 2024 primary and presidential ballots, now Democrats and left-wing organizations are moving against so-called ‘MAGA’ Republicans running for reelection.
As noted by Georgetown University law school professor and constitutional expert Jonathan Turley in a column published Thursday by the New York Post, “former congressional candidate Gene Stilp, who’s made headlines by burning MAGA flags with swastikas outside courthouses,” filed a new court document in Pennsylvania that seeks to remove Republican Rep. Scott Perry from the ballot, citing the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection” clause.
“We have become a nation of Madame Defarges — eagerly knitting names of those to be subject to arbitrary justice,” Turley remarked in his column, adding: “But what’s chilling is how many support such efforts, including Democratic officeholders from Maine’s secretary of state to dozens of members of Congress.”
He noted that previously, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) wanted to block 126 members of Congress under the same constitutional provision for simply questioning the results of the 2020 election — much as most Democrats in Congress did after then-President-elect Donald Trump defeated two-time loser and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“Similar legislation from Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) to disqualify members got 63 co-sponsors, all Democrats, including New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman and Ritchie Torres and ‘Squad’ members Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan,” Turley wrote.
He noted that after Maine’s secretary of state unilaterally decided to remove Trump from next year’s ballot for a crime he’s never been tried for or convicted, three members of the state’s congressional delegation objected, “but others supported the antidemocratic action.”
“The grounds were virtually identical to those of Stilp. He accuses Perry of supporting challenges to Biden’s election and opposing its certification,” wrote Turley. “Of course, he ignores Democratic members who sought to block certification of Republican presidents under the very same law with no factual or legal basis.”
Turley added more examples:
Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) praised the effort then-Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) organized to challenge the certification of President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election.
Jan. 6 committee head Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) voted to challenge it in the House.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) sought to block certification of the 2016 election result — particularly ironic since he’s a leading voice calling for Trump to be disqualified.
During a subsequent appearance on left-wing CNN, Raskin tried to rationalize taking away Trump’s constitutional due process by blaming the former president himself: “If you think about it, of all of the forms of disqualification that we have, the one that disqualifies people for engaging in insurrection is the most democratic because it’s the one where people choose themselves to be disqualified.”
The court filing against Perry came on the same day that Pennsylvania Democratic state Sen. Art Haywood made public a filing against the state Senate Ethics Committee against GOP colleague Doug Mastriano that accused the latter of playing a role in a “plot to overturn the election.”
He claimed his filing was an attempt to “hold insurrectionists accountable,” which Haywood said was based on the same ‘evidence’ presented by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) to the Colorado Supreme Court.
Notably, Trump’s legal team was not allowed to argue before that state’s high court on his behalf.
“‘Insurrectionist’ is the newest label to excuse any abuse,” Turley wrote. “During the McCarthy period, individuals were accused of being Communists or ‘fellow travelers.’ Now you have Stilp accusing Perry of being ‘supportive of insurrectionists.’”
“If the challenges work, there is no reason they can’t be used unilaterally against any candidate (and without any criminal charges, let alone convictions),” the constitutional expert added. “It is instantly both self-executing and self-satisfying. It would put the world’s most successful democracy on a slippery slope to political chaos.
“That is why the Supreme Court needs to take up this issue and put this pernicious theory to bed once and for all,” he wrote.