Previewing the challenge to U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn's candidacy
There’s a push to disqualify North Carolina's U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn from office due to his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol in 2021.
The challenge centers around Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states:
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”
It was put in place to prevent members of the Confederacy from joining Congress. Limitations against most of those former Confederate members were lifted in 1872. The section was last invoked in 1920 to deny a representative from Wisconsin his seat after he criticized U.S. involvement in World War I, according to the New York Times.
After the 2020 election, Cawthorn urged people to “call your congressman” to protest results. Also saying “you can lightly threaten them.” At the rally before the Jan. 6 insurrection, Cawthorn told the crowd it looked like it had some fight. After initially calling the insurrection “disgusting” he later referred to those jailed for storming Congress as political prisoners.
In late summer 2021, he continued to falsely claim the 2020 election was rigged and that could lead to bloodshed.
Cawthorn’s lawyer told the New York Times, the case is frivolous and moot. He argues when congress voted for the Amnesty Act in 1872, it nullified Section 3’s disqualification portion.
Mike Collins is joined by political specialists to discuss the case, its merits and how it might impact other members of congress who have pushed 2020 election lies.
Chris Cooper, Madison distinguished professor of political science & public affairs at Western Carolina University
Keith Whittington, William Nelson Cromwell professor of politics at Princeton University