POLITICS & ELECTIONS

Lawsuit aims to keep Pennsylvania congressman off ballot over Constitution’s insurrection clause

Jan 2, 2024, 4:45 PM

FILE - Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chair of the House Freedom Caucus, speaks during a news conference ...

FILE - Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., chair of the House Freedom Caucus, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 14, 2023. Texts and emails sent by Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania have emerged publicly in a court filing that hints at how Perry worked to keep Donald Trump in office after his 2020 election loss. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A liberal activist asked a Pennsylvania court on Tuesday to bar U.S. Rep. Scott Perry from the state’s primary ballot, arguing that Perry isn’t eligible because of his efforts to keep President Donald Trump in office and block the transfer of power to Democrat Joe Biden.

The seven-page lawsuit asks Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court to declare that Perry engaged in insurrectionist activity and cannot hold public office under the Constitution’s insurrection clause. The lawsuit by activist Gene Stilp names Perry and Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, Al Schmidt.

Perry, a Republican, is expected to run for a seventh term, although candidates cannot file paperwork yet to qualify for Pennsylvania’s April 23 primary ballot.

In part, the filing cites Perry’s role in trying to use the Department of Justice to help Trump stall the certification of the election by installing an acting attorney general who would be receptive to Trump’s false claims of election fraud.

The challenge comes on the heels of Maine’s Democratic secretary of state removing Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot under the clause and a ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court that booted Trump from the ballot there. Trump is expected to appeal both to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump appeals Maine ruling barring him from ballot under the Constitution’s insurrection clause

In a statement, Perry’s lawyer, John P. Rowley, suggested that those appeals would ensure that the lawsuit against Perry is nullified.

“This lawsuit was filed by a partisan activist who clearly has no regard or understanding of how our Democratic Republic works,” Rowley wrote. “It is but the latest effort by an extremist to disqualify a duly elected official with whom he disagrees. We are confident the Supreme Court will put an end to this lunacy.”

Perry has not been charged with a crime, although he is the only sitting member of Congress whose cellphone was seized by the FBI in its investigation into efforts to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Perry has fought efforts by federal investigators to review texts and emails from his cell phone. A judge last month ordered Perry to turn over more than 1,600 texts and emails to FBI agents. Perry did not appeal it, his lawyer said.

Schmidt’s office declined comment Tuesday. It previously opposed a similar lawsuit in federal court seeking to remove Trump from the ballot in Pennsylvania. Stilp last week withdrew that lawsuit, and plans to file a new lawsuit in state court, saying he has a better chance of success there than in federal court.

The 155-year-old Civil War-era clause — Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — bars from office those who “engaged in insurrection.” It was designed to keep representatives who had fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War from returning to Congress.

Similar challenges in 2022 failed to block several other members of Congress from ballots, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona.

To get on Pennsylvania’s primary ballot, candidates cannot file paperwork until Jan. 23. The deadline to file is Feb. 13.

___

Follow Marc Levy at www.twitter.com/timelywriter.

KSL 5 TV Live

Politics & Elections

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, talking about the proposed changes that are happening to downt...

Carole Mikita and Michael Houck, KSL TV

‘This plan is ambitious’: Salt Lake County Mayor Wilson talks about the revitalization of Salt Lake City

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson spoke to KSL TV about all the proposed changes that could hit downtown Salt Lake City.

19 hours ago

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. apologized to members of his family who objected to a new TV ad released Sund...

Meg Kinnard, Associated Press

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. fails to qualify for CNN’s debate

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has failed to qualify for next week’s debate in Atlanta. Host network CNN said Thursday the independent presidential candidate fell short of benchmarks both for state ballot qualification and polling

1 day ago

Protestors gather outside the House chambers during a legislative special session at the Utah State...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Utah lawmakers vote to block federal protections for LGBTQ+ students under Title IX

Utah lawmakers convened in a special session on Juneteenth to declare the state's intent not to follow a federal rule providing anti-discrimination protections to transgender youth.

2 days ago

Tuesday February 9, 2006. Photo by Scott G. Winterton / Deseret Morning News.The Ten Commandments m...

Sara Cline, Associated Press

New Louisiana law requires that The Ten Commandments must be displayed classrooms

Louisiana has become the first state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom.

2 days ago

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JUNE 19: People watch a television broadcast reporting a meeting between North...

Kim Tong-Hyung

Russia and North Korea sign partnership deal that appears to be the strongest since the Cold War

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have signed a new partnership that includes a vow of mutual aid if either country faces “aggression.”

2 days ago

Utah leaders are reacting to a call from the U.S. surgeon general to include a warning label on soc...

Daniel Woodruff

Utah leaders react to call for warning label on social media platforms

Utah leaders are reacting to a call from the U.S. surgeon general to include a warning label on social media – just like there are on cigarettes.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Lawsuit aims to keep Pennsylvania congressman off ballot over Constitution’s insurrection clause