The January 6th Committee made it clear that the attack on our Capitol was an insurrection.
Yet when insurrectionists continue to hold government office, we’re told that voting them out is the only choice we have to prevent the dismantling of our democracy. But this is false; Congress also has the choice to enforce Section Three of the 14th Amendment, called the Disqualification Clause. It bans any person who took an oath to support the United States Constitution from holding federal or state office if they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or gave “aid or comfort” to insurrectionists.
Clearly, extremists holding government office who participated in, and/or supported the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, including the six Republican senators and 121 Republicans in the House who voted not to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election on that very day—are constitutionally unqualified and should never be given a place on the ballot. Instead, they must be held accountable and removed from office—not by vote, but by enforcement of our constitutional rule of law.
In light of the Disqualification Clause, the question is, why haven’t the insurrectionists holding government office been disqualified and expelled? Waiting for them to be voted out flies in the face of reason when the law clearly provides the grounds for their removal. We know this can work because on Aug. 6, 2022, a judge in New Mexico ordered Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin to be removed from office under the 14th Amendment after being convicted of participating in the January 6th insurrection.
We the people don’t need to make a choice between authoritarianism and democracy; we chose democracy a long time ago. Section Three of the 14th Amendment is there to protect our democratic values from brutal assault in order to keep them safe and intact for generations to come. That is why I implore voters to research the 14th Amendment for themselves and then tell their representatives in Congress to enforce the Disqualification Clause—now, while they still can.
Miriam Ginden lives in Santa Rosa.