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Judge refuses to bar 3 Wisconsin incumbents from 2022 ballot

June 8, 2022 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal judge in Milwaukee has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to bar Republican U.S. Reps. Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Tiffany as well as Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson from the 2022 ballot because they supported Donald Trump leading up to the January 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The Capital Times newspaper in Madison reported Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman dismissed the case on Friday. He said the lawsuit wasn’t “procedurally proper.”

The lawsuit alleged the three Republicans violated the “Disqualification Clause” of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The clause prohibits anyone from holding federal office who has taken an oath to protect the Constitution but also has engaged in insurrection against the United States. The provision was enacted after the Civil War to prevent members of Congress who had fought for the Confederacy from returning to Congress.

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Tiffany and Fitzgerald were among 121 House Republicans who voted to object to counting Joe Biden’s presidential electors from Arizona on Jan. 6, 2021. Tiffany and Fitzgerald also were among 138 Republicans who voted to object to Biden’s Pennsylvania electors.

Johnson was one of eight U.S. senators who signed an objection to counting Arizona’s electors, but he ultimately voted to accept them after the riot on the Capitol.

Ten Wisconsin citizens filed the lawsuit in March. The effort was funded by the liberal Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC. It was similar to one rejected by a federal judge earlier that month seeking to keep U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina from seeking reelection this fall.

Adelman said the plaintiffs lacked standing in federal court and the challenge would be more appropriate in front of the state elections commission.