(The Center Square) – A judge in New Mexico ruled on Tuesday that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin must be removed from his position following his role in the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Griffin also founded the group Cowboys for Trump, which “played a key role” in the “Stop the Steal” movement that sought to block the certification of the 2020 election results leading up to January 6, according to District Court Judge Francis Mathew’s ruling.
Citing the 14th Amendment, Mathew wrote that Griffin is disqualified from holding state or federal public office because he swore an oath to support the U.S. Constitution yet still participated in the insurrection.
“The January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol and surrounding planning, mobilization, and incitement were an ‘insurrection’ against the Constitution of the United States, and Defendant ‘engaged in’ that insurrection after taking his oath,” Mathew said.
The ruling also bars Griffin from “seeking or holding” any public offices in the future.
The ruling is the first time that a public official has been removed from office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment since 1869, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a liberal-leaning watchdog group that represented New Mexico residents who were plaintiffs in the case.
“This is a historic win for accountability for the January 6th insurrection and the efforts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power in the United States,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. “Protecting American democracy means ensuring those who violate their oaths to the Constitution are held responsible.”
“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,” he added.