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Arizona Supreme Court Clears Three GOP Legislators for Election

May 11, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

On Monday, the Arizona Supreme Court dismissed claims of insurrection against State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) and Congressmen Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05), ruling them valid candidates for the upcoming election. 

A progressive nonprofit, Free Speech for People, alleged that the three legislators weren’t qualified because they committed insurrection through their actions and speech on January 6, a purported violation of the U.S. Constitution’s “Disqualification Clause”: Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

In response to the ruling, Gosar asserted that free speech prevailed against the Democrats. 

Finchem declared that the GOP continued its winning streak with this latest ruling. 

The court agreed with the Maricopa County Superior Court’s ruling from last month. Judge Christopher Coury didn’t entertain whether or not the three lawmakers engaged in insurrection. Rather, the courts agreed that the plaintiffs lacked the ability to enforce it. The Arizona Supreme Court agreed with the superior court’s assessment that the U.S. House of Representatives has the sole authority to determine a candidate’s fitness to serve in Congress. 

“1) Congress has not created a civil practice right of action to enforce the Disqualification Clause, and the criminal statute prohibiting rebellion or insurrection, 18 U.S.C. § 2382, does not authorize the challenge by a private citizen; 2) A.R.S. § 16-351 does not provide a private right of action to argue a candidate is proscribed by law from holding office; 3) it is unnecessary to decide if the Amnesty Act of 1872 is applicable because no private right of action exists under the United States Constitution or Arizona law; 4) the Constitution reserves the determination of the qualifications of members of Congress exclusively to the U.S. House of Representatives; 5) the doctrine of laches is not applicable at this time; 6) Plaintiffs do not satisfy the legal standards for injunctive relief; and 7) there is no need for an advisory trial. Plaintiffs timely appealed.”

The nonprofit that challenged the qualifications of Biggs, Gosar, and Finchem failed in two similar lawsuits against Congressman Madison Cawthorne (R-NC-11) and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14). 

In addition to disqualification of the three legislators’ candidacy, Democrats have called for an investigation into their January 6 involvement. 

The leader of the activist movement challenging the results of the 2020 election, Ali Alexander of “Stop the Steal,” named Gosar, Biggs, and Finchem as three individuals who helped him organize the January 6 protest. 

One of the latest actions taken on these claims came last week when the U.S. House’s January 6 Committee requested that Biggs speak with them. 

Biggs refused to cooperate. He compared the committee’s intentions and tactics to those behind the Salem Witch Trials, with former President Donald Trump supporters being the target. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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