Lawmakers propose barring insurrectionists from office

In the wake of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol two years ago, several states are considering legislation that would prohibit those convicted of participating in an insurrection from running for or holding public office. New York, Virginia, and Connecticut have all introduced bills seeking to prevent those who have attempted to overthrow the government from serving in it.

The New York bill would bar those convicted of engaging in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States from holding civil office such as a judge or member of the Legislature. The Virginia bill would prohibit anyone convicted of a felony related to an attempted insurrection or riot from serving in positions of public trust. The Connecticut bill would prohibit people convicted of sedition, rebellion, insurrection, or a felony related to one of those acts from running for or holding public office.

Not all lawmakers are in agreement with this legislation. New York Republican Assemblyman Will Barclay believes existing rules already apply to people in certain positions who are convicted of crimes and says those laws “should be sufficient.” The exchange between two Pennsylvania lawmakers showed the divide between those who refuse to see the Capitol riot as an insurrection and those who see it as an attack on the foundations of democracy.

Previous attempts to prevent certain officials from either running for or holding office have not been successful. However, if these bills pass, it could be a sign that those who attempt to take down the government should not be allowed to take part in it. Whether or not they will be successful is yet to be seen.


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