The ruling cited the 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion' from holding state or federal office.
A judge in New Mexico ordered that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin should be removed from office, effective immediately, as a result of Griffin's participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the United States Capitol.
Griffin is a former rodeo rider who cofounded the group Cowboys for Trump. In March, Griffin announced he would not seek reelection. Later that month, a federal judge convicted Griffin of illegally entering restricted U.S. Capitol grounds on the day of the riots led by supporters of former President Donald Trump. In June, Griffin was sentenced to 14 days in jail and was given a $3,000 fine for his role in the attack.
On Tuesday, New Mexico district court judge Francis J. Mathew ruled that Griffin violated the 14th Amendment of the Constitution when he entered the restricted grounds of the Capitol to try to block the transition of power from Trump to President Joe Biden. The 14th Amendment states that anyone who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the United States is barred from holding state or federal office.
In his opinion, Mathew wrote that "political violence predictably occurred at the Capitol on January 6" and that Griffin "made that happen."
The 49-page ruling lays out Griffin's behavior in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 attack, his actions on that day, and the comments he made following his participation in the violent attempt to keep Trump in office.
Ahead of the insurrection, Griffin spoke at a number of "Stop the Steal" rallies across the country, where he vowed there would be "war" and that "there might be some of us that might lose our lives." He added that "We'll win it ... in the ballot box or we'll win it in the street," and threatened to "hunt down" any "sellouts" or "RINOs."
On the day of the insurrection, Griffin threatened then-Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump supporters wanted to block certification of Biden's win.
And he was seen on the inaugural stage set up on the West Terrace of the Capitol shouting, "I love the smell of napalm in the air" after law enforcement had deployed tear gas and pepper spray to try to disperse the violent mob breaking their way into the building. Griffin later declared the insurrection to be "a great day for America" and that "people are ready for fair and legal elections, or this is what you're going to get, and you're going to get more of it."
After the insurrection failed and Biden's win was certified, Griffin said on video that he was going to travel back to Washington, D.C., for Biden's insurrection and vowed that "there's going to be blood running out of that building."
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which helped bring the lawsuit against Griffin, celebrated the judge's ruling.
"This is a historic win for accountability for the January 6th insurrection and the efforts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power in the United States. Protecting American democracy means ensuring those who violate their oaths to the Constitution are held responsible," CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement.
"This decision makes clear that any current or former public officials who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and then participated in the January 6th insurrection can and will be removed and barred from government service for their actions."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.