AlamogordoTownNews.com Judge Orders Couy Griffin Removed From Office Couy Griffin Comments

District Court Judge Francis Mathew issued a ruling Tuesday that permanently prohibits Griffin from holding or seeking local or federal office.

In his ruling on the case, Mathews contended that Griffin was not eligible to hold office because of his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots.

(Griffin) became constitutionally disqualified from federal and state positions specified (under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, Section 3) and forfeited his current office as Otero County Commissioner effective Jan. 6, 2021,” Mathew’s ruling states. “Griffin shall be removed from his position as an Otero County Commissioner effective immediately.”

We reached to Couy Griffin for comment and his response was: “It’s a great example of the type of tyranny in America today. The people in my district have already spoken thru a failed recall waged against me after Jan 6. But since that didn’t work, now I guess they have succeeded thru the civil courts and a liberal judge in a liberal county.”  Mr. Griffin in sound bites sounds deflated, understandably, via the intensity of the last year. 

The ruling is the first time that an elected official has been removed from office as a result of their participation or support for the January 6, 2021, riot. This is also the first time a judge has formally ruled that the events of January 6 were an “insurrection.”

The Courts decision is located:

https://www.citizensforethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/D101CV2022…

Judge Francis Mathew gave a multiple page explanation of his ruling basically saying Mr. Griffins defense was inconsistent and that his involvement with Cowboys for Trump in partnership with Stop the Steal played a pivotal role in the ruling because of its “mobilization efforts” leading up to the events of January 6th. The judge claimed that Mr. Griffins “attempts to sanitize the events” of January 6th and his other actions were “without merit and contrary to the evidence produced.”

We have reached to the Republican Chairman of Otero County and the Democratic Chairman for comment and have not received one at this time.

This is a developing story and further updates will be added as more details of the county response come to bare and that of other impacted government bodies.

Mr. Griffins position is up for election in November with favored Republican Amy Barela facing off against Democrat Stephanie DuBois.

This is a developing story and further updates will be added as more details of the county response come to bare and that of other impacted government bodies and a link to live interviews from Anthony Lucero with impacted parties in a special story to be released later today from KALH.

Stay tuned…
12:04 pm update 

Republican Chairman Joshua Beasley said he will review the ruling and submit comments later today. 

Statement from Democratic Party Chairman of Otero County:

Yes…”We will support and defend the Constitutions of New Mexico and the United States of America ensuring free, fair, and accurate elections for our citizens. Those who disrupt elections, intimidate voters, engage in insurrections and seditious conspiracy behaviors, will be held accountable by Democrats. Americans can count on us!

We look forward to serving with those Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, Declined to State, and other voters who are also true patriots. 


We await and encourage any virtuous Republicans to forthrightly take control of their party here, and put forth a far better quality of candidates, who can really work with ALL citizens to better our citizens, lands, and infrastructure.

Otero County is on the cusp of tremendous opportunities for growth and economic thriving. Far too many Republicans here, like Couy Griffin, get elected and prove to be distractions. We need a strong and vibrant Republican party here. We need an overhauled one!

High time for those true patriots and economically savvy Republicans to take charge of their party. Stop the squander!”

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Day Two Recap of Trial to Remove Cowboys for Trump Founder/Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin

Day two of the trail to remove Cowboys for Trump Founder and Otero County New Mexico Commissioner Couy Griffin from office proceeded today into a second day of expert testimony on why he qualifies for removal as per Section 3 of the 14th amendment and participation in a rebellion or insurrection against the government of the United States and the peaceful transition of power of the presidency.

Text of the amendment:

“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, 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. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

Interpretation is that no person can be a Senator, Representative, Elector or officer of the United States — or United States military officer, or member of a State Legislature, or a Governor, or a judge of any State — if they took an oath to support the Constitution and then took part in a rebellion against the United States or gave aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. But Congress can change this with two ­thirds vote.

A History Lesson of how Republicans enacted the 14th Amendment Section 3:

This is a section of the constitution that dealt directly with the aftermath of the Civil War, section 3 of the 14th Amendment prohibits those who had “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same [United States] or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof” from serving in the government. It was designed to keep the governments free of those who had broken the country apart. However, its effect wound up being relatively minor, that is until this trial. 

Due to the obscure cases around the use of this amendment this may make an interesting case that could go all the way to the US Supreme Court as a precedent setting case. 

Section 3 of the 14th amendment has been called “the most forgotten provision of the forgotten Fourteenth Amendment.” Congress last used Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1919 to refuse to seat a socialist Congressman accused of having given aid and comfort to Germany during the First World War, irrespective of the Amnesty Act.

Interesting fact is the amendment was drafted by Republican members of the Thirty-Ninth Congress.

Republicans when setting out the conditions for restoring former confederate states to the Union demanded, in rough order of priority, a constitutional change in the basis of apportionment (Section 2), constitutional provisions respecting the state and federal debt (Section 4), constitutional or statutory provisions limiting confederate participation in politics (Section 3), constitutional or statutory provisions protecting the rights of former slaves and white Unionists (Section 1), and a constitutional ban on secession that did not become part of the final Fourteenth Amendment.

The first version of Section 3 was born in chaos. On Wednesday, April 25, 1866, the Joint Committee on Reconstruction reached agreement on an omnibus Fourteenth Amendment. The centerpiece of that text was the provision mandating black suffrage by 1876. The Republicans on that committee immediately learned from their peers that this provision would not fly. Desperate to produce an amendment by Monday, April 30 the Joint Committee hastily cobbled together a new omnibus draft on Saturday, April 28. The centerpiece of that text was Section 2, which the Republican members of the committee thought would induce former confederate states to accept black suffrage by reducing state representation in the House of Representatives and Electoral College in proportion to disenfranchised males over 21. Section 2 of the new omnibus text could not be implemented until after the next census. To ensure loyal control of state governments until that time, the Joint Committee added Section 3, which disenfranchised until July 4, 1870, all persons who gave “aid and comfort” to the rebellion.

The second version of Section 3 was reared in secret. The Joint Committee’s Section 3 engendered substantial debate among Republicans in Congress. Republicans disputed how that provision would be implemented and whether that provision would be effective. In mid-May Republican Senators held a three-day caucus to resolve disputes over Section 3 (and Section 2). We know the subjects of that caucus (largely Section 3), but not the details of what was said. No one leaked then or later in memoirs. 

When that caucus ended, Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan proposed, with a few tweaks, the Section 3 we have today.

That Section 3 replaced temporary disenfranchisement with a permanent officeholding ban (both federal and state) while limiting the subjects of the ban to persons who, holding certain offices, had previously taken an oath to support the Constitution. Republicans fell in line immediately. Party members responded to Democratic criticisms but did not discuss the meaning of the Republican Senate Caucus’s Section 3 or how to best implement that provision.

Republicans assumed the constitutional problems the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to solve would largely vanish once either white Unionists or a biracial coalition of white Unionists and former slaves controlled southern governments and sent loyal representatives to Congress. Section 3 would, of course, apply to any future insurrection. Nevertheless, Republicans were focused almost exclusively on preventing confederates from regaining power. They did not concern themselves with what might constitute a future insurrection once the slave power had been permanently interred.

Yet here we are today…

Yet here we are today, in a court case that’s roots are spun from the American Civil War, in a battle to define what is an act of rebellion or insurrection and to answer the question of should a local county commissioner from a small poor county in New Mexico be removed from office for participation in what most have defined as an act of rebellion against the transition of power from former President Trump to President Biden. 

Should Couy Griffin, an Otero County Commissioner be removed from office and barred from ever holding office again per article 14 Section 3?

The plaintiffs today, called law professor and expert on the 14th amendment, Dr. Mark Graber, to the stand to outline the definition of treason and an insurrection under the amendment, and how Griffin’s actions play into that.

Griffin: In your own opinion, is that a violation of my oath?

Dr. Graber: “Yes. Again, let’s go through the elements. You were acting in concert with other people, you marched with them, that’s what the tapes clearly show. You had a purpose, to prevent the certification of Joe Biden to be president.”

Dr. Graber investigated the insurrection and Griffin’s role in it. Under oath, he shared his three big findings: January 6, 2021 was an insurrection, people responsible for writing Section Three of the 14th amendment back in the 1800s would say it applies to county commissioners, and that they would view Griffin’s actions on July 6th as participating in insurrection.

Griffin, who is representing himself, argued he went to Washington D.C. that day as a private citizen and not in an official capacity. 

Like Monday, Judge Francis Mathew had to step in to keep proceedings on track.

Griffin: Your honor…the witness doesn’t need to be trying to put what I was thinking and what I was doing, this is my time with the witness and what I was doing there.

Judge Mathew: He’s answering your question.

Griffin: He’s making accusations all the same.

Next on the stand was Dr. Rachel Kleinfeld, an expert on political violence who also helped the select House committee investigate the insurrection. She testified that Griffin was an insurrectionist.

In cross-examination, Griffin said that was her opinion.

Toward the end of the day the dialog would make Griffin appear defeated. He mentioned maybe he should have had witnesses for his side. In the end the judge will decide. Today marked the end of testimony. Hundreds of pages of expert witness findings and cross examination that were humorous at time considering the seriousness of the charges and the potential precedent of this trial.

The closing arguments are not verbal but are to be submitted to the judge by August 29th. The judge is said he will rule within 10 days of receipt of those closing arguments.

Prologue:

The most bizarre twist of this whole affair is that an alleged staunch Republican, Commissioner Couy Griffin, has the potential of being removed from office, by an obscure piece of the constitution, that dates back to the civil war, sponsored by Republicans, to protect the United States Government from Confederate leaning elected officials from serving in office. 

The joke on us, in poor, played, Otero County, New Mexico is that the average Joe American is footing much expense with this whole judicial affair; it is game of brinksmanship on constitutional theory, that could impact the lowest to highest levels of power in this nation.  

Mr. Griffin and those that filed the lawsuit are all pawns in a game of constitutional theory being played out in what could evolve into a big-league US Supreme Court, precedent setting case that could impact the political landscape of this nation for decades at every level – city, county, state and national. 

This case getting national attention and being defended by a lone commissioner without an attorney is the big leagues, playing the little guy, into shaping the Republican Party to Retake Republicanism or to allow it to continue its present course, thus allowing an evolution, of power to fill the vacuum of discontent in a way we nor our founding fathers ever would have imagined.

Some say pray for America, others say Retake Republicanism, I suggest being diligent, vote, participate and educate oneself with constitutional facts verses the false narratives, get back to civics education, actually read and understand the constitution, then diligently look at those elected and ask yourself, “does he or she actually represent the values and intent of the founding fathers and that of the constitution for which we are all sworn?” 

Let’s put ego aside and reengage in the art of compromise and citizenship and respect for one another. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Otero County, New Mexico Commission votes NOT to fund Couy Griffin Defense

The Otero County Commission met in special session for 31 minutes Friday morning July 1st to discuss a motion presented by Couy Griffin for the county to pay his legal expenses in a lawsuit filed against him for his removal from office.

The decision was made after 30 minutes of Mr. Griffin pleading his case and comments from the public. Some public comments were a bit aggressive as was Mr. Griffin in defense of his action.

After 13 minutes of dialog, the motion to vote was attempted to be called for by the commission chairwoman Vickie Marquardt at the special meeting July 1.  She then allowed Mr. Griffin to continue to defend himself in dialog and allowed a few public comments.

Mrs. Vickie Marquardt then made the formal motion for a vote after 30 minutes of dialog and seconded by Commissioner Matherly.  The meeting adjourned after 31 minutes.

The proposal to fund Mr. Griffin defense failed based on concerns of violating New Mexico’s and the County’s own anti-donation clause. The New Mexico Anti-Donation Clause states that “neither the state nor any county, school district or municipality… shall directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private corporation.”

quo warranto lawsuit was filed by Marco White, Mark Mitchell and Leslie Lakind naming Griffin’s participation in the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C. as grounds for his removal from office.

A record of the motions of the lawsuit is found at

https://dockets.justia.com/docket/new-mexico/nmdce/1:2022cv00284/473159

The actual complaint document can be found at

On Jan. 17, 2021, Griffin was arrested on a federal trespassing charge for entering and remaining in a restricted building. He was found guilty and was sentenced June 17 to 14 days’ time served, $500 restitution, a $3,000 fine, community service and one year of supervised release.

In a statement to fellow Commissioners, he denied any connection to the riot.

“This lawsuit is to remove me from my capacity as county commissioner and prevent me from running for county commissioner, too on the basis that I was part of an insurrection in Washington, D.C. in which I haven’t been charged or convicted of anything of the sort,” Griffin said.

Commission Couy Griffin said he called the meeting after Otero County Attorney R.B. Nichols declined to give Griffin a public statement as to why Otero County could not provide Griffin with legal representation in the matter. 

Nichols said that “only the Otero County Commission can issue official County statements.”

“I can provide advice to the Commission on how they should do something, but an official County position comes from the county commission,” Nichols said.

Both the law firm of Mynatt Martínez Springer and the New Mexico Association on Counties advised against Otero County providing legal representation to Griffin, Nichols said.

Griffin’s legal issues are mounting as he is also in an ongoing legal battle over orders to register Cowboys for Trump, an organization he founded, as a political action committee. 

A jury trial in the criminal case against Griffin for his alleged failure to register Cowboys for Trump as a political action committee is scheduled to begin Sept. 19. In July 2020 an arbitrator chosen by Cowboys for Trump agreed with New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver that Cowboys for Trump fell under the jurisdiction of the Campaign Reporting Act and should be registered as such. Griffin and the organization were ordered to file delinquent expenditure and contribution reports beginning in 2019 and to pay $7,800 in accrued fines.

Couy Griffin as a part of his statements today mentioned, “he too was disappointed in President Trump that he was not getting support from the president but would rather have support from the county.” He claimed he had been, “fed to the wolves, referred to several members of the public as tyrannical Marxist and condemned mass media for failure of support.” He said, “he respects the decisions of the County Commission and the courts and believes God is on his side.”

The commission adjourned without funding his lawsuit.

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Couy Griffin Roadshow From Montana to QANON Rally & HBO Movie Couy Griffin Makes The Rounds…

As Otero County voters are aware  Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin has prevailed against efforts to recall him from office as a county commissioner in southern New Mexico.

Recall committee spokesman Scott Fredrick confirmed the end of September that a petition drive collected 1,229 signatures from registered voters and that it wasn’t enough to trigger a recall election by state law.

Amid the recall effort having survived, Griffin has been burnishing his image as a God-fearing “peaceful patriot” who stands in solidarity with about 70 jailed defendants and 100’s of indicted defendants linked to the Capitol siege. 

Under the direction and guidance of former president Trumps former lawyer Sidney Powell, and funded by a fundraising campaign that shows a fundraising total to date of $41,567 created by the controversial alleged Proud Boys affiliate Ben Bergquam; Couy Griffin has been traveling around the country. 

On his tour he is lecturing on his vision of America and continuing the message of a stolen election. Recently on tour in Dillon Montana, Couy Griffin mined his preaching background when he proclaimed to the pro-Trump crowd that he believes the former president is anointed by God.

Griffin founded Cowboys for Trump and faces misdemeanor charges for his alleged presence in a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol building during the riot of Jan. 6 in Washington D.C.

A former pastor, Griffin acknowledged that Trump is a flawed man. But he reminded the crowd that King David of the Old Testament was a sinner. Those sins included adultery and soliciting murder, according to the Bible.

About 90 people in the Frontier Event Center heard the onetime preacher emphasize that God is sovereign.

If God wanted Donald J. Trump to be in that office right now you can bet your boots he would be,” he said. However in a confusing contradiction to the belief that if God had wanted Trump in office he would be there then Griffin went on to say that, “I believe with all my heart that the election was stolen.” (If God wanted Trump in office how could it be stolen? This writer has yet to comprehend how one can trump God’s will so to say, but we digress.)

“[Trump] was fighting the good fight for those of us who have been left behind by the government,” Griffin said, noting that he has met Trump and had conversations with him. “I know his heart. His heart is for the people.”

Specific to the insurrection Griffin has said he believes the federal government has been reluctant to move forward with trials of defendants charged with alleged crimes tied to the Jan. 6 riot. He said authorities are pushing instead for guilty pleas or plea bargains. Griffin himself was offered a sealed plea bargain agreement but as of yet there is no word of an agreement between Griffin and the Feds on agreement to the plea bargain that was proposed.

Griffin has said he believes trials would compel the government to disclose to defense lawyers video evidence that would be both exculpatory and revelatory.

While in Montana he was accompanied by two other Montana residents facing conviction from the capital related activities. One, Henry “Hank” Muntzer told the Montana Standard that, “Trump will be back before the end of the year after the fraud is exposed.”  

That myth continues to be perpetuated on obscure websites sites and via QANON with constant date changes, when this alleged reset of the US government with Trump reasserting his rightful role in the White House will take place.

Couy Griffin continued his conservative tour this weekend with a trip to Las Vegas to a QANON conference however his speech concerning President Trump was not as rosy and upbeat in support of the former president as his speech in Montana a few weeks prior.

At the conference this weekend, C owboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin, who continues facing charges in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot, turned his rhetoric on the former president in a conference speech for abandoning January 6 rioters and failing to deliver on a campaign promise.

We supported President Trump because of his fight for justice as well. And for four years we cried, ‘Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.’ We know she’s a criminal. What did the president tell us? ‘If I was in charge of the law, you’d be in jail,'” Griffin said Sunday at a QAnon conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Mr. President, you’ve been in charge of the law for four years,” he added. “At the end of your four year time, the only ones locked up were men like me, and others like me, that have stood by the president the strongest.”

The AlamogordoTownNews.com reached out to Couy Griffin via text to his private number for a comment for this article or context of the statements but as of publication time of this article has had no comment or response. If we get a response or comment we will amend the article with comments from Mr. Griffin or context to his statement.

In the ongoing saga of the capitol riots to date 670 individuals have now been charged by the Department of Justice with crimes against the United States of America. 

A detailed movie produced by the BBC is being released for television called; Four Hours at the Capitol: a meticulous, chronological account of how 6 January unfolded, executive produced by Dan Reed and directed by Jamie Roberts. If the violence that day seemed sudden and explosive even to those of us following it from afar, the film shows the agonizing push-and-pull between protesters and police on the threshold, the tension building and finally boiling over.

The abundance of material of nearly every minute allowed them to stitch together the sequence of events, while witnesses tell the story. There’s the Capitol police caught on the back foot, the Washington DC police brought in to do battle, the politicians and staff readying themselves for fight or flight and the reporters struggling to keep pace.

The most striking testimony is from the protestors themselves: a broad church ranging from rubberneckers to those clearly intent on doing harm. Many belong to the Proud Boys, the far-right group (now synonymous with alt-right extremism) which led the attack on the Capitol. Some subscribe to conspiracies associated with QAnon.

It can be unsettling to hear some of the participants describe that day in their own words, and to see the pleasure some evidently derive from them.

In the film, often the footage speaks for itself, such as when our Otero County Commissioner and Cowboys for Trump founder; Couy Griffin describes “thousands of peaceful patriots standing around” while the viewer is shown a bloody, baying mob – and Griffin is actually seen on video stirring them up further. “It was very violent: this was an out-and-out physical attack on the Capitol and the people defending it,” says movie producer Reed. “We don’t hold back on that, and that’s got to tell you a lot … The fact that members of the Proud Boys are allowed to speak is entirely as it should be, because that’s how we’re going to understand.

America teetered on the brink of martial law, Reed says. When an officer is dragged into the mob, “you can see that there are different impulses within the crowd: one is to smash his face in and kill him – and the other is to save him.

Had the House of Commons been in comparable jeopardy, he says, “ there would have been massive bloodshed – with that level of threat, I think police would have definitely opened fire. It’s just astonishing that the Capitol police didn’t.”

Instead, as an officer says in the film– and as the footage shows to be miraculous – huge loss of life was averted on both sides. The squall passes when, after four hours, Trump finally tells his adoring, warring supporters to go home.

There’s a certain amount of despair in America that you can see in the high suicide rate among the post-industrial white working class, in the rates of opiate addiction and family breakdowns. There’s a large constituency of people who feel that they are not at the center of the American story any more.

Membership to right-wing militia groups was recently found to have surged since 6 January. That unprecedented violence,  was spearheaded by just few dozen determined individuals – and then that opened the way to events that changed the world in ways we have yet to understand and may not even know or realize for decades.

Four Hours at the Capitol can be seen on HBO. A trailer of the movie can be seen via the link below..

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New Mexico’s Couy Griffin Slaps at the Legitimacy of Native Americans Voting and their Struggles and History

“I think the Recall for Couy Committee should look at the legal side of it because those signatures they get on the Mescalero Reservation, I don’t see how they could be used in a recall if I’m already been banished,” Griffin told a local radio station during an interview on July 13 that he questions the legality of the signatures gathered on the Mescalero Reservation since he was banned last fall.

Griffin apparently has forgotten or is unaware of the plight to vote for Native Americans or that there is even precedent for elected officials to be banished from stepping foot onto a reservation, but the Native American Voters still have the right to vote for or against that individual, even if the individual is banished from tribal lands represented.

Native Americans see themselves as patriots. They’re the demographic with the nation’s highest participation in military service. Yet profound differences separate some of their values from those of mainstream America. Many Indigenous people do not support the dominant society’s fiercely maintained system of racial and financial privilege of which Griffins comments allude to. Platforms with health- and community-focused planks are what interest most Native American voters per polling and Mr. Griffins absences from the district, focus on Cowboys for Trump and infatuation with the Trumpian theology don’t bold well for most Native American voters within the district.

The banishment of Couy Griffin from the Mezcalero Apache Reservation was an act, by the tribe, to get his attention. The banishment was to let him know of their displeasure in his actions as a representative in local government. Though driven by his rhetoric, the tribe’s stance of banishment is statement of his ineffectiveness as a leader of the community. The tribe clearly understands the recall is based upon his actions and potential ethics violations and not his rhetoric and as such allowed the signature drive for recall to proceed on their tribal lands.

Leaders build bridges between diverse groups and advocate for their needs. An act of banishment is a statement that he has been ineffective in representing their voice within county government if even at all.

The banishment of a political leader by a Native American tribe is not to be taken lightly and there is precedent for such actions. Couy is NOT the first politician to face a banishment and not the first to question voting rights of Native American citizens.

A most recent example of a tribal banishment is by the Oglala Sioux tribe in South Dakota, Via banishment they told the state’s governor that she was no longer welcome to access the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of the largest in the country, because she signed bills that allegedly target Keystone XL pipeline protesters. The tribe’s president, Julian Bear Runner, informed Gov. Kristi Noem of the council’s unanimous decision in an open letter.

Tribal banishment is a permanent ban from the reservation, and violations are punishable by law with fines or even jail time on their lands. Tribes have sovereign rights over their lands per Federal treaties however they also participate in county and state elections. Federal law allows for what one might deem as dual citizenship the right to participate in tribal elections as per the tribes constitution and the right to participate in local, state and federal elections via rights granted to all citizens within the US constitution.

Voting Rights of New Mexico’s Native American Population:

Miguel Trujillo Sr. had been a Marine sergeant in World War II and was in the middle of getting his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. But there was one thing he still could not do. Trujillo could not vote. In 1948, the state’s constitution barred American Indians living on reservations from participating in elections. So, that summer, the Isleta Pueblo educator waged a legal battle that culminated in a court ruling 74 years ago that won Native Americans the right to vote in New Mexico.

Even though the federal government had granted citizenship to Native Americans back in 1924, the New Mexico Constitution still barred them from voting. The state’s constitution expressly prohibited from voting “idiots, insane persons, persons convicted of felonious or infamous crime unless restored to political rights, and Indians not taxed.”

That last part referred to Indians living on reservations because they did not pay property taxes on their land. It is unclear whether Native Americans could have registered to vote if they lived outside reservations.

But the provision disenfranchised many and prompted condemnation from the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in its 1947 report. The provision did not make any sense, the committee said. That line in the constitution was written before American Indians were granted citizenship, but they were paying taxes to the state and federal government like other citizens.

Protests against this ban, the report noted, had only gained force as American Indian veterans returned to civilian life after World War II.

It was amid all of this that Trujillo went to the Valencia County Clerk’s Office in June 1948. Family have said Trujillo had grown up with the county clerk, Eloy Garley, but knew he would not be allowed to vote in any event. Sure enough, he was turned away. In turn, Trujillo went to court with the help of Felix Cohen, a former federal official who had become a prominent civil rights lawyer and was working with tribes in New Mexico.

They filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court focusing on that one strange qualifier in the state constitution. For one thing, Trujillo’s lawsuit argued, he paid plenty of taxes. No, he did not pay taxes on his land. But he paid income taxes and sales taxes. There are other voters who don’t pay property taxes, too, such as renters. But no other group has been barred from voting on the basis that they do not pay property taxes.

On Aug. 3, 1948, a panel of three judges in Santa Fe sided with Trujillo granting Native American voting in New Mexico.

“We are unable to escape the conclusion that under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments; this constitutes discrimination on the ground of race,” the court said in its ruling. The cruel irony that Trujillo had just served in the military but was denied the right to vote was not lost on the court, either. Native Americans, the court said, “have responded to the need of the country in time of war in a patriotic wholehearted way, both in furnishing manpower in the military forces and in the purchase of war bonds and patriotic contributions of that character.” “Why should they be deprived their rights to not now because they are favored by the federal government in exempting lands from taxation?” the court asked.

With that, American Indians had the right to vote and petition in New Mexico in any election for any candidate like other citizens.

And vote they do. In the most recent election voters elected a record-breaking six Native American congressional candidates to serve in the US House of Representatives. Native candidates also won dozens of races in state and local elections across the country.

In New Mexico at the state level 9 candidates ran…

  1. WON: Anthony Allison, Navajo Nation, State House 4, Democrat
  2. UNOPPOSED: Doreen Wonda Johnson, Navajo Nation, State House 5, Democrat
  3. WON: Derrick Lente, Sandia & Isleta Pueblo, State House 65, Democrat
  4. UNOPPOSED: Georgene Louis, Acoma Pueblo, State House 26, Democrat
  5. WON: Patricia Roybal Caballero, Piro Manso Tiwa, State House 13, Democrat
  6. WON: Shannon Pinto, Navajo Nation, State Senate 3, Democrat
  7. WON: Benny Shendo Jr., Jemez Pueblo, State Senate 22, Democrat
  8. WON: Brenda McKenna, Nambe Pueblo, State Senate 9, Democrat
  9. LOST: Gertrude Lee, Navajo Nation, New Mexico Court of Appeals, Position 2, Republican

There are almost 3600 members of the Mescalero Apache tribe of which a large percentage live on the reservation and are located within Couy Griffins District. By law each have the right to sign the petition if a registered voter in the county the tribe’s people like ANYONE registered to vote in Otero County District 2 can sign the recall petition, including those registered voters on the Mescalero Reservation.

If Griffin is removed from office, the New Mexico Constitution states that Lujan Grisham may appoint a person from any political party to the seat. The appointee must be from Otero County District 2, Governor’s Office Spokeswoman Nora Sackett said.

The New Mexico Constitution is not as specific as the statement from the Governor’s spokesperson however there is precedent in appointments, and it would be politically prudent for the Governor to appoint within the district thus the statement from her spokesperson.

The Committee to Recall Couy Griffin is setting precedent in New Mexico history as there is not a record of a recall effort that has garnered this much attention nor seen the successes to date of this effort. To learn more about the recall effort visit:

https://www.facebook.com/RecallCouy/

Signatures at the Reservation are being gathered…

Friday, July 16:

Mescalero, Apache Reservation at the Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm

Saturday, July 17

Mescalero: Chiricahua Plaza parking lot from 10 am – 4 pm

Note: Story Revised on 7/16/21 at 6:09 pm per request the author has remove the call letters and named interviewer referenced in the story per a call request. While the record of the call is in the public airwaves we respect the request and have done so accordingly. 

To hear audio of the interview with Couy Griffin of New Mexico follow the link https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FSgtChez%2Fposts%2F10219254270935110&show_text=true&width=500