Democracy Has Prevailed.

May 23, 2022

The 14th Amendment And Doug Mastriano

We've briefly touched on the 14th Amendment as it pertains to our good friend (and man whose face seems to be Photoshopped onto a hot dog) PA State Senator and GOP candidate for Governor Doug Mastriano. 

We didn't think the handwritten filing would get very far.

However, by way of John Nichols of The Nation we learn about another effort, this time from a group called Free Speech for People.

We'll give Nichols the floor to frame this story:

The group points to Section Three of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which declares: “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.”

Enacted following the Civil War, the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause has been in the news in recent months because voters have tried to use it to disqualify several members of Congress from appearing on their state’s ballots, including Representatives Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

Free Speech For People makes a compelling case that the amendment is particularly applicable to Mastriano, as a professor at the Army War College, where he taught strategic studies.

You can read their letter to Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth Leigh Chapman here.

A few interesting highlights of the letter:

The U.S. Constitution places only one qualification on individuals seeking state office: they must not have broken an oath to support the Constitution by engaging in an insurrection against the United States. Under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause, “No Person shall . . . hold any office, civil or military . . . under any State, who, having previously taken an oath . . . as a member of any State legislature . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” The Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause applies in every state, including Pennsylvania. It must be implemented by state officials against insurrectionist office-seekers even if they have not been charged with crimes, and even if Congress has not taken specific action against them.
And then there's this:

Mastriano had “VIP” status at the speeches at the Ellipse and subsequently rode a golf cart and marched to the Capitol.19 Videos and photographs show Mastriano at the Capitol during the insurrection, bypassing police barriers that “moved” only because insurrectionists breached them in Mastriano’s presence.20 Furthermore, just one week after the attack, Mastriano described to a radio interviewer how he was present as insurrectionists breached barricades and physically assaulted police officers by pushing them up the stairs.21

The group sums up its case with this:

Douglas Mastriano engaged in an insurrection against the United States within the meaning of the U.S. Constitution’s Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause after taking the oath as a state senator to support the Constitution. He is therefore disqualified from office within the state of Pennsylvania and, consequently, ineligible to appear as a candidate on the ballot for governor.

As Nichols says, a compelling case.