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US judge won’t let 2nd group of voters fight Cawthorn suit

March 30, 2022 GMT
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., arrives in the chamber of the House of Representatives before the State of the Union address by President Joe Biden to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Saul Loeb, Pool via AP)
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., arrives in the chamber of the House of Representatives before the State of the Union address by President Joe Biden to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Saul Loeb, Pool via AP)
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., arrives in the chamber of the House of Representatives before the State of the Union address by President Joe Biden to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Saul Loeb, Pool via AP)
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., arrives in the chamber of the House of Representatives before the State of the Union address by President Joe Biden to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Saul Loeb, Pool via AP)
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., arrives in the chamber of the House of Representatives before the State of the Union address by President Joe Biden to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Saul Loeb, Pool via AP)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A second group of voters opposing the candidacy of North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn — through a section of the Constitution addressing insurrection — has been barred by a federal judge from participating in litigation filed by Cawthorn.

U.S. District Judge Richard Myers denied the request of five voters from 11th Congressional District to enter Cawthorn’s lawsuit against the State Board of Elections, saying in his ruling Wednesday that they waited too long to ask to intervene.

Voters from a now-defunct 13th District that Cawthorn had previously filed to run in before redistricting maps were redrawn had filed candidate challenges with the state board and later filed a similar motion to enter Cawthorn’s lawsuit against him. Myers said at the time that state government attorneys were adequately representing their interests and denied their request.

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These voters have asked the the elections board to investigate whether the first-term Republican congressman should be disqualified from seeking reelection because of his involvement with the rally that preceded the U.S. Capitol riot in January 2021.

T hey cite a section of the 14th Amendment that says no one can serve in Congress “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” The section states Congress can pass laws removing such restrictions.

Cawthorn said he never participated in an insurrection and the section didn’t apply to him. His lawsuit in part sought to block candidacy investigations by the state board, saying the process violated his due process rights. Myers announced a preliminary injunction favoring Cawthorn on March 4, declaring that the board couldn’t hear the voters’ challenges on the 14th Amendment claim because an 1872 law removed the disqualifcations.

Two weeks ago, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then told Myers to consider a new motion by voters to intervene since “circumstances may have changed.” Myers wrote Wednesday that permitting intevention after a final order is issued is rare, and that the voters failed to file in a timely manner their motion once they realized their interests and those of the state elections board had diverged.

The State Board of Elections has until April 11 to decide whether to appeal Myers’ preliminary injunction.