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a thorn in his side

GOP Rep. Cawthorn files lawsuit arguing N.C. can't remove him from ballot over role in Jan. 6

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) is suing the North Carolina State Board of Elections, arguing that a law under which his eligibility to run for re-election is being challenged is unconstitutional, The Raleigh News & Observer reports.

According to The Associated Press, a group of North Carolina voters filed a challenge to Cawthorn's candidacy in the 2022 midterms last month. By speaking at a rally immediately before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the complaint alleges, Cawthorn "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the United States and is therefore disqualified from serving in Congress according to Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Under current state law, the "burden of proof" is "upon the candidate, who must show by a preponderance of the evidence of the record as a whole that he or she is qualified to be a candidate for the office."

In the lawsuit, filed Monday, Cawthorn argues that the "provision of the Challenge Statute which shifts the burden of proving a negative to the Candidate" is a violation of "the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

Since Jan. 6, 2021, Cawthorn has repeatedly baselessly blamed the riot on left-wing infiltrators or federal agents and has referred to those charged for their role in the attack on the Capitol as "political hostages."

According to the News & Observer, the "process for state elections officials to decide on the complaint will begin Wednesday." The North Carolina State Board of Elections will select panelists to consider the arguments from both Cawthorn and his accusers.