“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof”
The first disqualification lawsuit seeking to eliminate Trump from the ballot for his role in the January 6th insurrection has been filed in Colorado. Section 3 of the 14th Amendment lays out in stark terms that if someone swears to uphold the Constitution, they are disqualified from holding office if they engage in insurrection, rebellion, or aid or comfort to enemies of the Constitution. CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) has triggered a test to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to remove Donald Trump from the ballot. Griswold is determined to let the courts decide and the outcome could set a precedent for future disqualifications.
Many in Coos County are confused about why this same clause doesn’t also apply to insurrectionist and Coos County Commissioner Rod Taylor. Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin was removed from his seat as a county commissioner in New Mexico because of his participation in the insurrection. The hiccup lies in the phrase “having previously taken an oath” because Taylor apparently never served in the military or swore an oath, (joining Oath Keepers probably wouldn’t qualify), until after he tried to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.
Taylor’s actions since he took the office of commissioner and those of fellow commissioner Bob Main may still meet the criteria as defined by the CREW legal paper entitled Disqualifed: The case for Donald Trump’s disqualification under the 14th Amendment.
First, Disqualified makes clear that violence is not a criterion, and as we saw with the conviction and 22-year sentence of Proud Boy Enrique Tarrio, being present at the insurrection is also not required. Taylor was present and video captures show him entering the US Capitol Building through the east entrance where he apparently changed his mind and skedaddled back to his hotel room.
Taylor may be able to skate past the prior oath clause but his conduct since he swore the oath of office and the conduct of Commissioner Bob Main who has sworn a prior oath should be thoroughly examined for possible disqualification by providing “aid and comfort to the enemies thereof.”
Let’s start with Main. The commissioner has knowingly associated with the group Citizens Restoring Liberty co-founded by Taylor and fellow insurrectionist Scott Brewster. Main even attended a meeting and was met with applause where the county health director was referred to as “Dr Death.” Video from that meeting was enough to cause the FBI to contact local law enforcement to warn them of possible violence at public school board meetings.
Main also provided campaign advice and guidance to the group whose members have been infiltrating nonpartisan positions from school boards to transit districts. Let’s not forget that Main uses his platform as a commissioner to bash opposing political views at commission meetings. Does this qualify as aid and comfort to the enemy? I personally think so and view Main as a threat to democracy.
Taylor, since swearing to uphold the US and State Constitutions has never renounced his role on January 6th, claims to be proud of his participation, and apparently still displays a Trump Won banner in his county office and continues his association with “enemies thereof.”
To test the disqualification of Main and Taylor from seeking reelection would likely require a similar lawsuit as has been filed in Colorado except the onus will be on the Coos County Clerk, Julie Brekke Johnson.
Let’s see what we can do to remove these two from ever holding public office again and support our local democracy.
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