On September 6, 2022, Judge Francis J. Mathew, District Court Judge for the 1st Judicial District Court, Santa Fe County, New Mexico, granted quo warranto relief, finding that Defendant, Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin, is disqualified under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States because 1) he took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States as an “executive . . . officer of any State,” 2) the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol and the surrounding planning, mobilization, and incitement were an “insurrection” against the Constitution of the United States, and 3) Defendant “engaged in” that insurrection after taking his oath.
Due to his disqualification, Defendant is therefore constitutionally ineligible and barred for life from serving in any elected capacity or from holding any office, civil or military, under the United States or any State.
In his September 6, 2022, ruling, Judge Mathew stated:
“Mr. Griffin’s attempts by his arguments, including his closing argument, to sanitize his actions are without merit and contrary to the evidence produced by the Plaintiffs, bearing in mind that he produced no evidence himself in his own defense. His protestations and his characterizations of this actions and the events of January 6, 2021 are not credible and amounted to nothing more than attempting to put lipstick on a pig.” (Pg. ii)
Cohen Milstein was a member of the trial team and participated extensively at trial.
On March 21, 2022, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and co-counsel filed Plaintiffs’ quo warranto complaint to remove Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin from office and disqualify him from holding any future public office pursuant to Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and New Mexico Statutes (NMSA), based on his participation in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol.
Under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, known as the Disqualification Clause, “No person shall . . . 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.”
In detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law, the Court found that Mr. Griffin participated in, and helped to mobilize and incite a mob for, the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol. . The Court ruled that the January 6th attack and the events surrounding it constituted an “insurrection” against the Constitution of the United States within the meaning of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Because Defendant took an oath as an “officer of [a] State” to “support the Constitution of the United States” and then “engaged in insurrection,” the Court held that he is disqualified from federal and state office under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment and has forfeited any right to hold such office.
Case name: New Mexico, ex rel., Marco White, et al. v. Couy Griffin, D-101-CV-2022-00473, 1st Judicial District Court, Santa Fe County
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