A prominent legal scholar, constitutional expert, law professor and commentator, Jonathan Turley, is warning that Democratic hopes to disqualify Republicans from even being candidates in elections is “as dangerous” as that same plan in Iran.
There, “You can freely vote from a pre-selected list of candidates,” he explained in an online column.
His comments come on the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol that left hundreds facing charges of trespassing or vandalism, and a million dollars in damages to the building.
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Multiple Democrats have repeatedly called the events an “insurrection” despite the fact that charge is conspicuous by its absence from the court cases.
And they have floated the idea that any Republicans who “supported” that “insurrection” then are disqualified from ever running for office again. It’s based on a provision adopted after the Civil War.
Turley headlined his commentary, “Destroy a democracy to save it: Democrats call for the disqualification of dozens of Republican members,” to emphasize the danger.
“What is maddening is that Democratic groups and commentators are seeking to remove as many as 120 Republicans from the ballots in the name of democracy,” he explained. “It is like burning books in the name of literacy. Yet, on this anniversary of the January 6th riot, members of Congress and Democratic groups want to block voters from reelecting their preferred representatives. Like villages in Vietnam, it appears that some members and activists believe that you have to destroy democracy to save it from itself.”
He pointed out that even the Biden administration joined in criticism of the “mass disqualification of 583 candidates in Iran by the Guardian Council.”
Those disqualifications aligned with similar limitations imposed by regimes in China and Venezuela, he said.
But now, “Some in the United States are now toying with the idea for the 2022 or 2024 elections,” he warned. “While more modest than the Iranian model, the Democratic calls for disqualification are just as dangerous. What is most maddening is that this anti-democratic effort is cloaked in democratic doublespeak.”
He cited comments from Democratic lawyer Marc Elias, a former general counsel for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, who claimed 2022 would bring a renewed interest in disqualifying Republican members from office based on that obscure Civil War-era provision.
That explains that those to were in an “insurrection” against the U.S. could not subsequently hold office.
“In the age of rage, nothing says democracy like preventing people from running for office,” Turley said.
Already, Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., has demanded the disqualification of the 120 House Republicans — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., — for simply signing a friend of the court brief in support of an election challenge from Texas, he noted.
“By declaring the Jan. 6th riot an ‘insurrection,’ some Democratic members of Congress and liberal activists hope to bar incumbent Republicans from running,” he explained, accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., of fueling the concept – even before Jan. 6 occurred.
She did that by “declaring that the Republicans supporting election challenges were ‘subverting the Constitution by their reckless and fruitless assault on our democracy which threatens to seriously erode public trust in our most sacred democratic institutions, and to set back our progress on the urgent challenges ahead.’”
In fact, the GOP members were using the same procedures and provisions that Democrats frequently also have used in elections.
Turley noted he condemned President Trump’s speech on that day and denounced the riot.
“However, it has not been treated legally as an insurrection. Those charged for their role in the attack that day are largely facing trespass and other less serious charges — rather than insurrection or sedition. That’s because this was a riot that was allowed to get out of control by grossly negligent preparations by Capitol Police and congressional officials.”
He noted even the FBI “did not find evidence of an insurrection.”
He accused “Democrats on the Hill” and “media” of trying “to keep the enmity alive from Jan. 6.”
“We have an effort to encode the notion of an actual insurrection through mantra-like repetition,” he said.
“A recent poll showed that one in three Americans believes that violence against the government can be justified. It often seems like some want to trigger an actual rebellion by disenfranchising parts of our population. The fact is that there are people who traffic and profit in rage, and we are all the poorer for it,” he said.
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