Judge Orders New Mexico County Official Removed From Office for Jan 6 Role, a First

A judge held Tuesday that Couy Griffin must be removed from office for participating in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, the first order of its kind in connection with the riot.

Otero County, New Mexico Commissioner Couy Griffin speaks to reporters as he arrives at federal court in Washington, Friday, June. 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe, File
Otero County, New Mexico Commissioner Couy Griffin speaks to reporters as he arrives at federal court in Washington, Friday, June. 17, 2022. Credit: AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe, File

A judge held Tuesday that Couy Griffin must be removed from office for participating in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, the first order of its kind in connection with the riot. Griffin, who founded the group Cowboys for Trump, was serving as commissioner for Otero County, New Mexico. He was previously convicted of a misdemeanor for his participation in the riot.

A New Mexico state judge ordered that Griffin be permanently removed from office under the Disqualification Clause, or Section 3, of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The section, which has not been invoked to remove an official in more than 100 years, prohibits someone from holding federal or state office who has "previously taken an oath … 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."

By invoking the clause, the ruling is also the first time a judge has officially declared Jan 6 an "insurrection," according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which filed the lawsuit.

"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," said CREW President Noah Bookbinder.