The Cawthorn complaint is a doozy and is indeed signed by attorney James Bopp Jr. but also by North Carolina power attorney Josh Howard, whose name may be familiar to those who followed the great Watauga County voter suppression gambit of 2013 (which extended itself into many years following), while Howard was chair of the SBOE. Howard is also famous to us for once joking out loud that he wished Watauga County could be ceded to Tennessee.
To tell the truth, the challenge to Cawthorn's candidacy based on Sect. 3 of the 14th Amendment has seemed like a stretch to me (one who doesn't know the law or how lawyers think), and Bopp and Howard are defending Cawthorn in Federal rather than state court because they're raising constitutional issues of their own, primarily freedom of speech and due process. From my quick reading of the lawsuit, they sound like they have a solid argument. Here's their "Prayer for Relief":
1. Declare that the Challenge Statute is unconstitutional under the First Amendment because its “reasonable suspicion” standard is insufficient justification to trigger a government investigation.
2. Declare that the burden shifting provision of the Challenge Statute is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it requires Rep. Cawthorn to prove a negative, as applied to any Challenge under Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment.
3. Declare that the Challenge Statute is also unconstitutional under Article 1, § 5 of the U.S. Constitution because Congress is the exclusive judge of the qualifications of its Members.
4. Declare that the application of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to Rep. Cawthorn is prohibited by federal law.
5. Preliminarily and permanently enjoin Defendants from enforcing the Challenge Statute against Rep. Cawthorn and disqualifying him from being a candidate for Congress in North Carolina.
6. Award all costs and expenses of bringing this action, including attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses; and
7. Grant any other relief this Court deems appropriate.
The Cawthorn challenge might get thrown out before it even gets to the SBOE's appointment of an investigating panel.