The North Carolina attorney general’s office said the 14th Amendment could be used to bar Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn from running for reelection.

The 14th Amendment bans insurrectionists from holding federal office. It was a provision adopted in the aftermath of the Civil War in an effort to block confederates from running for office and trying to overthrow the government.

The amendment reads, “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office … who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Liberal North Carolina voters filed a lawsuit in January taking issue with Cawthorn’s “substantial” role in last year’s Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. He spoke at a rally earlier that morning that some of the rioters had attended.

Cawthorn filed a countersuit, but the state filed a motion to dismiss his lawsuit. Now, the North Carolina State Board of Elections must decide if Cawthorn should lose his eligibility to run. Cawthorn claimed that that state should not be able to determine federal candidates’ eligibility to run and that Congress is the one who has the real authority to decide.

“[T]he public interest is served in choosing the People’s representatives by democratic processes, not by state bureaucrats, which Challengers propose here,” Cawthorn said in a brief. “The undemocratic scheme contained in the North Carolina Challenge provisions supplants voters for state bureaucrats who will determine who can represent the People.”

The case will set an early precedent for those who want to penalize members of Congress for backing former President Donald Trump‘s claims of an unfair and “rigged” 2020 election.

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