In CNN's Attorney grills Marjorie Taylor Greene about her false stolen election remarks at about 03:35 reporter Amara Walker says:

Now the judge is expected to make a decision early next month on whether or not Marjorie Taylor Green should be disqualified from running for re-election, he will make his recommendation to the Georgia Secretary of State who will then make a final determination.

Now Kate keep in mind that this insurrection disqualification clause in the 14th amendment is from the Civil War era, so that means that this provision has never been tested in modern history. And that will make it likely an uphill battle for the challengers.

Question: From where does the Georgia Secretary of State derive power to enforce the 14th amendment of the US constitution in the context of potentially denying Marjorie Taylor Green's right to run for reelection?

Certainly state authority is what one would expect applies to an individual's running in an election to represent that state, but is there a law in Georgia that says in effect 14th amendment challenges to a citizen's right to run for congress shall be heard by a judge who then makes a recommendation to the Secretary of State of Georgia who can simply decide to prevent someone from running by themselves?

This seems a bit tricky - is this current challenge following a codified procedure or is it somewhat ad hoc?

Note that answers to Who enforces the insurrection rules in the 14th Amendment, section 3? don't really seem to apply or fit in this case; and there's no mention of a Secretary of State of an individual state.

  • How is that Question not confusing itself? Is a Georgian Secretary of State's duty to enforce the Constitution not part of the job-description for the office, automatically carrying with it al necessary powers? Isn't how that's related to Marjorie Taylor Green's right to run for re-election a separate Question? Apr 27, 2022 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


The relevant statute in Georgia is GA Code § 21-2-5 (2020) - it’s a bit long to reproduce here, but the general gist of the law is to first establish that all candidates for election must meet the constitutional requirements for holding the office for which they stand (section a).

It then sets out in section b, the process by which a candidate may have these qualifications challenged by the Secretary of State, either on their own initiative or on the application of an elector. The matter is referred to an administrative law judge, but the final decision remains in the hands of the Secretary of State (section c).

Section e covers the right of the candidate or an elector to appeal this decision by filing a petition in the Superior Court of Fulton County. This court may then alter the decision of the SoS:

The court may reverse or modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because the findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions of the Secretary of State are:

  • In violation of the Constitution or laws of this state;
  • In excess of the statutory authority of the Secretary of State;
  • Made upon unlawful procedures;
  • Affected by other error of law;
  • Clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the whole record; or
  • Arbitrary or capricious or characterized by an abuse of discretion or a clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.

From where does the Georgia Secretary of State derive power to enforce the 14th amendment of the US constitution...?

From the constitution. State and federal officers are sworn to uphold it. There does not need to be an explicit provision in Georgia law implementing the disqualification provision of the US constitution.

A dispute may arise over the conditions that must be present to trigger the disqualification, of course, which would be heard in state or federal courts.

state authority is what one would expect applies to an individual's running in an election to represent that state

State law is always subordinate to federal law.

  • 3
    @uhoh a specific procedure made up on the spot is not a very specific procedure, is it? A procedure made up on the spot can be a simple refusal to certify the candidacy while citing the 14th amendment and some set of facts.
    – phoog
    Apr 23, 2022 at 19:26
  • a proof based on dividing by zero is not a very good proof, is it? Apr 25, 2022 at 0:01

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