A New Mexico judge ordered that Couy Griffin, a New Mexico county commissioner and founder of the group “Cowboys for Trump,” be removed from public office and barred from ever running for public office again over his presence at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot.
State District Court Judge Francis Mathew ordered that Griffin be removed from his elected position as Otero County Commissioner “effective immediately” and banned him from seeking further public office under a section of the 14th Amendment known as the Disqualification Clause.
“Due to his disqualification under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment, defendant is constitutionally ineligible and barred for life from serving as a ‘Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President,” or from ‘hold[ing] any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State,’ including his current office as an Otero County Commissioner,” Mathew wrote in his ruling.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment states : 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. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
This is the first time that any court found that the Capitol riot met the definition of an insurrection, according to the nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), which represented the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit to remove Griffin as county commissioner.
“This decision makes clear that any current or former public officials who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and then participated in the January 6th insurrection can and will be removed and barred from government service for their actions,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a press release.
Griffin was convicted of a misdemeanor for entering Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, without going inside. He was sentenced to 14 days in prison and given credit for time served.
He told CNN on Tuesday that he was ordered to clean out his desk.
“I’m shocked, just shocked,” he said. “I really did not feel like the state was going to move on me in such a way. I don’t know where I go from here.”