By Jonathan Turley
As the decisions disqualifying former President Donald Trump from the 2024 election work their way through the courts, a new filing in Pennsylvania seeks the same “ballot cleansing” by barring Rep. Scott Perry.
It’s only the latest effort targeting congressional candidates as Democrats seek to bar opponents as “insurrectionists” for questioning the election of President Biden.
We have become a nation of Madame Defarges — eagerly knitting names of those to be subject to arbitrary justice.
Former congressional candidate Gene Stilp, who’s made headlines by burning MAGA flags with swastikas outside courthouses, filed the challenge.
Using the 14th Amendment to disqualify candidates like Perry is consistent with Stilp’s signature flag-burning stunts.
But what’s chilling is how many support such efforts, including Democratic officeholders from Maine’s secretary of state to dozens of members of Congress.
New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell sought to bar 126 members of Congress under the same theory for challenging the election before Jan. 6, 2021.
Rep. Cori Bush’s similar legislation to disqualify members got 63 cosponsors, all Democrats, including New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman and Ritchie Torres and Squad members Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
When Maine’s secretary of state disqualified Trump, three in the state’s congressional delegation — Sens. Angus King (I) and Susan Collins (R) and Rep. Jared Golden (D) — condemned the decision. But others supported the antidemocratic action.
The grounds were virtually identical to those of Stilp. He accuses Perry of supporting challenges to Biden’s election and opposing its certification.
Of course, he ignores Democratic members who sought to block certification of Republican presidents under the very same law with no factual or legal basis.
Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin praised the effort then-Sen. Barbara Boxer organized to challenge the certification of President George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection.
Jan. 6 committee head Bennie Thompson voted to challenge it in the House.
Rep. Jamie Raskin sought to block certification of the 2016 election result — particularly ironic since he’s a leading voice calling for Trump to be disqualified.
He insisted last week on CNN that the effort to prevent citizens from voting for Trump is the very embodiment of democracy: “If you think about it, of all of the forms of disqualification that we have, the one that disqualifies people for engaging in insurrection is the most democratic because it’s the one where people choose themselves to be disqualified.”
That is akin to treating every criminal charge as a consensual act of incarceration because the accused chose his path in life.
This is also being played out in state races.
The filing against Perry came the same day Pennsylvania Democratic state Sen. Art Haywood made public a complaint to the Senate Ethics Committee against his Republican colleague Doug Mastriano accusing him of playing a role in the plot to overturn the election.