NC officials: Madison Cawthorn can be constitutionally barred from office if found to have aided January 6 rioters
Madison Cawthorn (Image: Madison Cawthorn campaign)

On Wednesday, POLITICO reported that officials from the North Carolina Attorney General's office are arguing constitutional prohibitions on insurrectionists serving in Congress could be applied to Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) if a state board determines he gave any assistance to the perpetrators of the January 6 Capitol attack.

"In a late Monday court filing, state attorneys said a provision of the 14th Amendment — disqualifying insurrectionists from holding federal office — is not a defunct Civil War-era relic meant to apply only to former Confederates but a guard against future acts of insurrection," reported Kyle Cheney. "As a result, Cawthorn, who is fighting a challenge to his eligibility to run, could face that prohibition if the North Carolina State Board of Elections determines he meets the criteria, the state attorneys said."

"The state’s filing came in a motion to dismiss Cawthorn’s lawsuit against the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Cawthorn is suing to prevent the board from even considering the challenge to his eligibility to seek a second term in the House," said the report. "In his lawsuit, Cawthorn claims the 14th Amendment provision was intended to apply only to former confederates who fought in the Civil War, and he cited a subsequent 1872 'amnesty' law that waived the 14th Amendment prohibition for those confederates as evidence of his claim."

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According to the report, the state AG's office disagrees, pointing out that in 1919, Congress applied the prohibition to Victor Berger, a man convicted of violating the Espionage Act in World War I.

At present, Cawthorn has not been charged with or convicted of crimes in relation to the Capitol attack. However, he gave a speech to the crowd at Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally that immediately preceded the attack, praising them for their "fight."

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