Instead of beating him at the ballot box, liberals are using backhanded efforts to defeat Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn.
The state’s election board said in the filing that they have the power to disqualify him from seeking reelection.
Their argument revolves around the little-used "disqualification clause" of the US Constitution, which was ratified after the Civil War to prevent Confederate officials from returning to office.
Cawthorn filed a federal lawsuit to shut down the challenge.
The elections board, in its court filing, said his lawsuit is premature and should be dismissed.
The board also said it has the power to disqualify candidates based on constitutional considerations, not just based on state laws.
The board says “states have long enforced age and residency requirements, without question and with very few if any legal challenges. The State has the same authority to police which candidates should or should not be disqualified per Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment."
Law Professor Derek Muller points out that these effort to bar Cawthorn from running for reelection by kicking him off the ballot is unconstitutional.
"It would be unconstitutional if the [North Crolina state election] board attempted to take Mr. Cawthorn off the ballot. In 1995 the Supreme Court held in U.S. Term Limits Inc. v. Thornton that a term-limits amendment in Arkansas couldn't apply to congressional candidates. The qualifications enumerated in the Constitution, the court explained, are "fixed and exclusive." When a state tries to enforce an existing constitutional qualification, it may believe it is acting appropriately, but when it does so months ahead of Election Day, it often adds a qualification that the Constitution forbids. . . .
Even if Mr. Cawthorn were an "insurrectionist"—a matter of legal and factual debate—it wouldn't be a permanent bar to holding office. The Constitution provides that "Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability." We don't know whether Congress will decide before Election Day to bar from the House all who were involved in the events of Jan. 6 riot, but the Constitution is clear: The decision isn't North Carolina's to make.
States can't review a candidate's qualifications because the Constitution reserves that power to Congress itself. If voters elect a rascal who is constitutionally ineligible to serve, the people's representatives must decide whether or not to throw him out of the House."