DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — A lawsuit is seeking to remove Congressman Scott Perry from the ballot in central Pennsylvania. The lawsuit argues that Perry’s actions on January 6, 2021, violated the 14th amendment, which prohibits individuals from holding federal or state office if they engage in insurrection after swearing an oath to uphold the Constitution. Activist Gene Stilp filed the seven-page lawsuit, claiming that Perry participated in or endorsed an insurrection. The lawsuit asks the court to rule that Perry took part in insurrectionist behavior and is therefore ineligible to hold public office.
While similar lawsuits have targeted former President Donald Trump, legal experts note that the Perry case is unique. The argument put forward in Perry’s case hinges on whether he engaged in insurrection, while the majority opinion in the Trump cases centered around the accusation that he incited violence. The court is expected to make a final decision on the Trump cases soon.
The lawsuit against Perry highlights the broader debate surrounding the 14th amendment and its application in cases involving elected officials. The amendment’s language explicitly forbids individuals who engage in insurrection from holding office, but it does not provide clear guidance on how to determine if someone has engaged in such behavior. As a result, the lawsuit is asking the court to rule that a criminal conviction is not required to remove someone from a ballot.
Perry, who is currently facing no federal charges related to the events of January 6, 2021, has dismissed the lawsuit as frivolous. A campaign spokesman for Perry called the lawsuit a “fringe activist” attempt and stated that the congressman is focused on addressing the pressing issues facing Pennsylvania and the nation.
It remains to be seen how the court will interpret the 14th amendment in Perry’s case and whether this will set a precedent for future challenges against elected officials. The outcome of the Trump cases may provide some insight into the court’s approach to these types of lawsuits.