Supreme Court Turns Blind Eye to ‘Insurrection’ Case

( – On March 18, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected hearing the appeal of former New Mexico county commissioner Couy Griffin, who was removed from office after he was convicted for his actions on Jan. 6, 2021.

After a March 2022 bench trial, Griffin, co-founder of the group “Cowboys for Trump,” was convicted of trespassing on Capitol grounds and acquitted of a charge of disorderly conduct. During a civil trial on the disqualification question, a New Mexico state judge, under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban,” removed Griffin from office in September 2022, ruling he had engaged in an insurrection. In removing Griffin from office, Judge Francis Mathew wrote that Griffin had attempted to normalize the use of violence to stay in power.

His removal from office marked the first time an elected official has been removed from office because of the “insurrectionist ban.” Griffin had served as one of three Otero county commissioners. The county is located near the Texas border and is home to about 69,000 people.

Griffin appealed the decision, with his appeal being dismissed on procedural grounds by the New Mexico Supreme Court. In May 2023, Griffin appealed to the Supreme Court. In its decision to not hear the case, the Supreme Court provided no reason, and no dissents were noted.

The Supreme Court declining to hear Griffin’s case means his removal from office stands.

Griffin responded to the news in a post on Twitter, saying he was “Very disappointed.”

He had been optimistic about his chances following the Supreme Court’s March 4 unanimous ruling in favor of former President Donald Trump remaining on the ballot. Trump had appealed to the Supreme Court after being disqualified from being on the ballot in Colorado by the Colorado Supreme Court on the grounds of allegedly violating the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist ban.” However, the Supreme Court’s March 4 decision only affected candidates seeking federal office and not those seeking local positions. The decision explicitly said states could enforce the insurrectionist ban against people who held or were “attempting to hold” a state office.

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