Below are documents from selected cases that may be of interest to readers.
Couy Griffin v. Marco White, Mark Mitchell, and Leslie Lakind (2:22-cv-00362-KG-GJF)
In March, three New Mexico residents brought a quo warranto action in state court in New Mexico seeking to oust Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin from his position under §3 of the 14th Amendment due to his role in the January 6 Capitol riot. (Griffin had been charged with two misdemeanors for his involvement, and was later convicted of one of them.) Griffin filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Mexico seeking to enjoin the quo warranto action arguing, among other things, that the Amnesty Act of 1872 had prospective effect, lifting disabilities under §3 of the 14th Amendment on all insurrectionists of the future, including Griffin, even assuming he was an insurrectionist.
- Order Refusing to Block Quo Warranto Challenge to Couy Griffin Under §3 of 14th Amendment (March 14, 2022)
- On March 14, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Gonzales rejected that argument, following the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Fourth Circuit in Cawthorn v. Amalfi.
- State of New Mexico ex. rel. White v. Couy Griffin (D-101-CV-2022-00473) (Sept. 6, 2022)
- On Sept. 6, state judge Francis J. Mathew, of the 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico, ordered Otero Co. (N.M.) Commissioner Couy Griffin ousted from his position under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, due to his having "engaged in insurrection" through his participation in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. It is believed to be the first time since 1869 that a court has ousted an official under the provision, and it is the first formal finding by a court that the events of January 6 constituted an "insurrection" within that meaning of that provision.
John C. Eastman v. Bennie G. Thompson (8:22-cv-00099-DOC-DFM)
On March 8, 2022, the United States District Court for the Central District of California held a hearing for a case in which Dr. John Eastman, a former law school dean at Chapman University, and legal adviser to former president Donald Trump, challenged the Jan. 6 Committee's subpoena of emails sent and received by Eastman between November 3, 2020 and January 20, 2021. Eastman claimed privilege over some of the documents.
- Deposition of John Eastman (March 2, 2022)
- John Eastman was deposed in Eastman v. Thompson, the case in which he challenged the Jan. 6 Committee's subpoena of his documents. The transcript of the deposition was attached to a filing in the case. The Jan. 6 Committee later referred to the deposition in its hearing on June 16, 2022.
- Judge David Carter's order to release Eastman's emails to the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol (March 28, 2022)
- Carter rejected Eastman's claims that his emails were protected under attorney-client privilege, and ordered that 101 of his emails sent and recieved during the period of Jan. 4 to Jan. 7, 2021, be released to the Jan. 6 committee. Notably, Carter wrote in the ruling former President Trump, alongside Eastman, "more likely than not" attempted to illegally obstruct Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.
- Carter's order to release more of Eastman's emails to the House select committee (June 7, 2022)
- Carter ordered Eastman to share 159 additonal "sensitive documents" with the Jan. 6 committee, including 10 documents that detail meetings Eastman had in December 2021 with a Trump-supporting group that included a "high-profile leader"—at which Eastman spoke about plans to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Nancy A. Stencil et al. v. Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Thomas Tiffany and Rep. Scott L. Fitzgerald (2:22-cv-00305-LA)
On March 10, 2022, a group of voters filed a federal suit in the Eastern District of Wisconsin seeking a declaratory judgment disqualifying three federal officeholders from serving under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The suit alleges that the conduct of Sen. Johnson and Reps. Tiffany and Fitzgerald leading up to and during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot amounts to having "engaged in insurrection."
- Dismissal of challenges to Sen. Johnson, Rep. Tiffany, and Rep. Fitzgerald (June 3, 2022)
- On June 3, Judge Lynn Adelman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, dismissed voter challenges under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to Sen. Johnson, Rep. Tiffany, and Rep. Fitzgerald. She found that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the suit, which also suffered from other procedural deficiencies.
- Sen. Johnson's motion to dismiss voter suit challenging his qualifications under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (April 29, 2022)
- On April 29, 2022, Sen. Johnson moved to dismiss the federal suit challenging his qualification to hold office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. He argues that the voters lack standing to bring the suit; that Art. I, Section V of the Constitution makes each chamber of Congress the exclusive judge of the qualifications of its members; and that the suit is barred by the Amnesty Act of 1872, which had prospective (as well as retrospective) effecct. (Similar motions to dismiss have been filed by Sen. Johnson's co-defendants, Reps. Tiffany and Fitzgerald.)
- Voter lawsuit challenging the qualifications of Sen. Ronald Johnson, Rep. Thomas Tiffany, and Rep. Scott L. Fitzgerald under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (March 10, 2022)
Carrie Goode et al. v. Rep. Andrew Biggs (Election Case/Candidate Challenge Per A.R.S. § 16-351)
On April 6, a group of voters filed suit in the Superior Court for Maricopa County (Arizona) seeking a declaratory judgment that Rep. Biggs was disqualified from office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. It also seeks an order barring Biggs's name from appearing on the 2022 primary ballot. It alleges that Biggs' conduct on and leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot amount to having "engaged in insurrection." (Suit later dismissed in same order that dismissed a similar suit against Rep. Paul Gosar.)
Charlotte Costello et al. v. Rep. Paul Gosar et al. (Election Case/Candidate Challenge Per A.R.S. § 16-351)
On April 7, 2022, a group of voters filed suit in the Superior Court for Maricopa County (Arizona) seeking a declaratory judgement that Rep. Gosar was disqualified from holding office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The complaint also seeks an order barring him from appearing on the 2022 primary ballot. It alleges that Gosar's conduct prior to and during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot amount to "having engaged in insurrection."
- Order dismissing suits challenging Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Andrew Biggs, and state Rep. Mark Finchem (April 21, 2022)
- On April 21, 2022, Superior Court Judge Christopher A. Coury, of Maricopa County (Arizona), issued an order dismissing three voter challenge lawsuits based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The defendants had been Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Andrew Biggs, and state Rep. Mark Finchem (who was running for Arizona secretary of state). He found that the voter plaintiffs lacked a cause of action under Griffin's Case of 1869 (ruling by Chief Justice Salmon Chase, acting as a circuit judge). He held that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment is not self-executing and requires Congress to first pass an enabling law laying out how to enforce its provisions. He also found that Art. I, Section 5 of the Constitution makes each chamber of Congress the exclusive judge of the qualifications of its members—a second basis for dismissing the cases against the federal defendants, Gosar and Biggs.
- Voter complaint challenging qualifications of Rep. Paul Gosar under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (April 7, 2022)
- Arizona Supreme Court ruling regarding U.S. Reps. Gosar and Biggs and State Rep. Finchem (May 9, 2022)
- On May 9, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Superior Court's judgment permitting U.S. Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs and state representative Mark Finchem to appear on ballots, notwithstanding challenges under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The Court ruled on narrower grounds than the Superior Court court, however. It found only that Arizona state law provided a cause of action to challenge only candidate qualifications "prescribed" by law—not an alleged "disqualification" that "proscribed" an otherwise qualified candidate from serving.
Marjorie Taylor Greene v. Brad Raffensperger et al. (1:22-cv-01294-AT)
On April 1, 2022, Rep. Greene filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia seeking to enjoin the voter challenge being mounted to her qualifications, under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, before the Secretary of State's Office. She argued, inter alia, that the Amnesty Act of 1872 had prospective effect, shielding her from any theoretical disability. In addition, she argued that Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution makes each chamber of Congress the exclusive judge of the qualifications of its members.
- Georgia Secretary of State's Decision on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene(May 6, 2022)
- Decision of Administrative Law Judge re Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (May 6, 2022)
- Order denying preliminary injunction to bar voter challenge to qualifications of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (April 18, 2022)
- On. April 18, 2022, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg of Atlanta denied the preliminary injunction sought by Rep. Greene to enjoin a challenge to her qualifications under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment before the Georgia Secretary of State's Office. She found that the Amnesty Act of 1872 had no prospective effect and that Art. I, Section 5 did not bar states from determining the qualifications of candidates for the U.S. Congress who sought to appear on ballots.
- Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's Memo in Support of a Preliminary Injunction against the Voter Challenge to her Qualifications (April 1, 2022)
- Ruling of 11th Circuit Panel
- In March 2022 a group of voters brought an administrative action requesting the Georgia Secretary of State to block U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from appearing on the ballot to run for reelection. They alleged that her actions during the run-up to the January 6, 2021, insurrection disqualified her from holding office under §3 of the 14th Amendment. That section bars certain people who have "engaged" in "insurrection" after having taken oaths to uphold the federal Constitution from holding certain federal and state offices, including serving as members of the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate. Greene filed a federal action in the Northern District of Georgia seeking to enjoin the voter challenge against her on multiple grounds. In April, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg ruled against her. The state-level voter challenge then proceeded, with a state administrative law judge finding that Greene was not barred by §3 from appearing on the ballot and the state secretary of state adopting the ALJ's ruling. A state court affirmed the secretary of state's decision and the state supreme court denied review. Despite having prevailed in state proceedings, Greene also appealed U.S. District Judge Totenberg's ruling denying her a preliminary injunction to bar the voter challenge from moving forward altogether, arguing that the claims she raised are capable of repetition and yet evading review due to the compressed timetables of elections. Here, on appeal, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit unanimously rules that Greene's case is moot. Nevertheless, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Branch also issued a concurring opinion explaining her view that Judge Totenberg should have granted the injunction. Judge Branch would have found that Art. I, Section 5, of the Constitution provides each House of Congress with exclusive jurisdiction over the "qualifications of its own members." The state, by allowing its own officials to judge whether Greene had violated §3, was, in effect, imposing a new "substantive qualification" for federal office that was not defined in the federal Constitution. Judge Branch also emphasized the §3 gives Congress the power to lift the disability it imposes upon insurrectionists by a 2/3 vote of both Houses, and state officials could not foresee if Congress would choose to exercise that right.
In re Challenge to the consitutional qualifications of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
On March 24, 2022, a group of voters challenged the qualifications of Rep. Greene under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, alleging their her conduct before, during, and after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot amounted to "engaging in insurrection." (Following Georgia law, the Secretary of State referred the challenge to an administrative law judge to hold a hearing and make an initial recommendation.)
- Voter challenge to qualifications of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene before the Georgia Secretary of State's Office (March 24, 2022)
Madison Cawthorn v. Barbara Lynn Amalfi et al. (USCA4 Appeal: 22-1251)
The voters challenging Cawthorn's qualifications under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment before the NC State Elections Board appealed from Judge Myers's order enjoining their challenge from proceeding. (See Myers's ruling.)
- Ruling of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (May 24, 2022)
- Oral Argument of the Cawthorn Case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit (May 3, 2022)
- Voter Challengers' Appellate Reply Brief in the Cawthorn case (April 29, 2022)
- Appeal of voters challenging qualifications of Rep. Madison Cawthorn under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (April 14, 2022)
- Rep. Cawthorn's Response to Voter Challengers on Appeal (April 26, 2022)
- Here Rep. Cawthorn defends Judge Myers's ruling barring the North Carolina State Election Board from hearing a challenge to Cawthorn's qualifications under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
In re Challenge to the constitutional qualifications of Rep. Madison Cawthorn
On March 2, 2022, a group of voters challenged Madison Cawthorn's qualifications to hold office and, therefore, to appear on the primary ballot. They allege that his conduct leading up to, during, and after the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot show that he "engaged in insurrection," disqualifying him under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
Republican National Committee v. Nancy Pelosi et al. (1:22-cv-00659-TJK)
On May 1, 2022, U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly rejected the Republican National Committee's challenges to a subpoena to Salesforce Inc. issued by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. Salesforce had been a third-party vendor to the Republican National Committee and the Committee seeks documents from Nov. 3 to Jan 6, 2022, which is says it has reason to believe will show the RNC spreading false election fraud claims as a means of fund-raising. Judge Kelly, of Washington, D.C., rejected nearly all of the RNC's challenges, including claims that (1) the committee was improperly constituted; (2) the subpoena lacked a proper "legislative purpose"; (3) the subpoena violated the 1st and 4th amendment rights of the RNC; and (4) the subpoena was overbroad. Judge Kelly also found that the RNC complaint violated the Speech and Debate Clause to the extent it named members of Congress as defendants, but could proceed against Salesforce as a defendant. Finally, Kelly found that the RNC's concerns about the Committee obtaining information about the identity of its donors was mooted by agreements between Salesforce and the Committee that such records were not sought and would not be provided.
Cleta Mitchell v. U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Jan. 6 et al. (1:22-cv-00250)
Lawyer Cleta Mitchell is suing the Select Committee to quash a subpoena to AT&T for her phone records. Mitchell was allegedly one of several participants on a phone call during which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes that would allow him to claim victory in the state. The suit seeks injunctive relief to prevent the release to the Select Committee of Mitchell’s telephone records on the grounds that the subpoena seeks to obtain records of a personal nature, records protected by attorney client privilege and records pertaining to other members of Mitchell’s family sharing her AT&T account.
- Complaint (Feb. 1, 2022)
Madison Cawthorn v. Damon Circosta et al. (5:22-cv-50-M)
In January 2022, a group of North Carolina voters filed a legal challenge to Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s reelection bid, citing his involvement in the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the Capitol attack. The complaint, filed with the North Carolina State Board of Elections, claims that Cawthorn is disqualified from running for reelection under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that no person shall hold “any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath” to “support the Constitution,” had then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States. In response, on Jan. 31, 2022, Cawthorn filed a suit against members of the North Carolina State Board of Elections. In the complaint, Cawthorn denies his participation in an “insurrection or rebellion," and the suit disputes the claim that he is ineligible for candidacy under the 14th Amendment because of his involvement in the Jan. 6 rally. The lawsuit also argues that the North Carolina law allowing such challenges to be brought against candidates is unconstitutional.
- Order barring state election board challenge to Rep. Madison Cawthorn from going forward (March 10, 2022)
- Complaint (Jan. 31, 2022)
District of Columbia v. Proud Boys International et al. (1:21-cv-03267)
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine brought the civil suit for damages and injunctive relief brought on behalf of the District of Columbia against Proud Boys International, Oath Keepers, and 31 individual members of those organizations stemming from their alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The suit is brought under 42 USC §1985 and 1986 (the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871) as well as civil assault, battery and conspiracy causes of actions. The allegations draw heavily from the criminal charges that have been leveled against the 31 individual defendants.
- Complaint (Dec. 14, 2021)
Conrad Smith et al. v. Trump et al. (1:21-cv-2265-APM)
The suit is on behalf of eight injured Capitol Police officers against Donald J. Trump, the Trump Campaign, Stop the Steal, Roger Stone, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, individual members or affiliates of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, and others stemming from their alleged incitement of, or involvement in, the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The suit is brought under 42 U.S.C. §§1985-1986 (the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871) as well under local civil assault, battery, and other causes of action. The suit is being litigated by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
- Amended Complaint (Dec. 3, 2021)
James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby v. Donald J. Trump (1:21-cv-858-APM)
Two Capitol Police officers filed a suit against former President Trump for injuries allegedly sustained during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The suit is brought under 42 U.S.C. §§1985-86 (the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871) and local civil causes of action, including conspiracy, assault and battery. The case is being litigated by United to Protect Democracy.
Bennie G. Thompson et al. v. Donald J. Trump et al. (1:21-cv-400-APM)
The suit was brought by 11 members of Congress who allegedy sustained injuries in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Defendants include Trump, Rudolph Giuliani, the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, the Warboys and Enrique Tarrio. The suit is being brought under 42 U.S.C. §1985 (the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871).
Eric Swalwell v. Donald J. Trump, et al. (1:21-cv-586-APM)
Rep. Swalwell is suing former President Trump, Donald J. Trump, Jr., Rep. Mo Brooks and Rudolph Giuliani for injuries Swalwell says he sustained in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. His suit is brought under 42 U.S.C. §1985-86 (the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871) as well as under local civil causes of actions.
Trump v. Thompson (1:21-CV-2769)
Former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol; the House Jan. 6 Select Committee; David Ferriero, archivist of the United States; and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to block the release of his White House records to the select committee.
- Supreme Court order (Jan. 19, 2022)
- Trump Supreme Court application for a stay (Dec. 23, 2021)
- D.C. Circuit opinion (Dec. 9, 2021)
- The D.C. Circuit ruled in Trump v. Thompson, rejecting Donald Trump's effort to block the National Archives from handing over material from the Trump White House to the Jan. 6 committee. The court allowed an administrative injunction against the Archives to remain in place for 14 days, giving Trump an opportunity to petition the Supreme Court to hear the case.
- Trump D.C. Circuit reply brief (Nov. 24, 2021)
- NARA D.C. Circuit brief (Nov. 22, 2021)
- Select committee D.C. Circuit brief (Nov. 22, 2021)
- Trump U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit brief (Nov. 12, 2021)
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia opinion rejecting Trump’s motion (Nov. 9, 2021)
- Trump reply brief (Nov. 2, 2021)
- Select committee response memo (Oct. 29, 2021)
- NARA defendants response memo (Oct. 29, 2021)
- Trump complaint (Oct. 18, 2021)
Coomer v. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (2020-CV-34319)
Eric Coomer, a former high-level official at Dominion Voting Systems, alleges that the Trump Campaign, Sidney Powell, Rudolph Giuliani and others defamed him by falsing alleging that he participated in an "Antifa conference call" in which he was overheard promising to ensure that Biden won the 2020 presidential election. The false claim made Coomer, he alleges, "the face" of false conspiracy theories alleging that Dominion's technology had been somehow used to rig the election, causing "immense injury to his reputation, professional standing, safety, and privacy."
- Deposition of Rudolph Giuliani (Aug 14, 2021) in Coomer v. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. et al.
- In the deposition, Giuliani argues: "It's not my job, in a fast-moving case, to go out and investigate every piece of evidence that was given to me. Otherwise, you're never going to write a story. You'll never come to a conclusion."
- Deposition of Sidney Powell (July 20, 2021) in Coomer v. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. et al.
- Deposition of Sean Ray Dollman, CFO for Trump Campaign, in Coomer v. Donald J. Trump for President Inc., et al.
- First Amended Complaint in Eric Coomer v. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., et al.