Arizona Supreme Court rejects push to disqualify GOP lawmakers

The Arizona Supreme Court rejected Monday an effort to disqualify three Republican lawmakers from this year’s ballot because of their roles in planning or attending a rally that led to the unprecedented attack on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

The ruling means U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs and state Rep. Mark Finchem remain on the primary ballot. Gosar and Biggs are seeking reelection and Finchem is running for Secretary of State, Arizona’s chief election officer.

The lawsuits filed on behalf of a handful of Arizona voters alleged that Gosar, Biggs and Finchem can’t hold office because they participated in an insurrection. They cited a section of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enacted after the Civil War known as the "disqualification clause."

The justices ruled that alleged violations of the disqualification clause are not grounds for challenging a candidate’s eligibility for office under Arizona law. Their decision upholds a ruling by the Maricopa County Superior Court.

None of the lawmakers are accused of participating in the actual attack on Congress that was intended to stop certification of President Joe Biden’s win.

What is the ‘disqualification clause'?

According to the website Constitution Annotated, which describes itself as 'a comprehensive, government-sanctioned record of the interpretations of the Constitution,' the disqualification clause refers to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which reads:

The website also states that Congress exercised its right to remove the disability in 1872 from certain people, and the disability was eventually removed, in its entirety.