Friday, December 11, 2020

Delay, Delay, Delay

Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 of the Constitution authorizes Congress to fix the day on which the electors shall vote and states that electors must meet the same day throughout the United States. Congress designated the date of the electors meeting in the 1936 passage of United States Code: Title 3, Section 7 [3 USC 7] which states, “The Electors of President and Vice President of each State shall meet and give their votes on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December next following their appointment.” The date of the Electors' meeting for the 2020 Presidential election is set for this Monday, January 14, 2020. On Wednesday, West Virginia became the final of the 50 states and the District of Columbia to certify their presidential results. While the results of the election should be a foregone conclusion to any sane person in the United States, the President, his followers (including the attorneys general in 18 states), and Republicans in Congress have refused to accept a legitimate and legally conducted election of Joe Biden as President of the United States. For more than four years now, the Republican Party has descended into madness. It began long before, but the deterioration of their collective mental capacity has increased since the party chose Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President in 2016.

The states' certifications come as Trump has baselessly claimed that the election was rigged and sowed doubt about the outcome of the presidential race. Dozens of lawsuits challenging the results have been dismissed at the state and federal levels across the country since the November election. Now, these nutjobs have turned to the Supreme Court to beg it to hear their outrageous claims. There is no precedent or legal recourse for the Texas AG to file a suit with SCOTUS against other states for how they conducted their election. In no way does how other states handled their elections cause any harm to the State of Texas or any other state. Nowhere in the Constitution says that any state has the right to determine what another state does in their elections, especially when lawfully enacted by their state legislatures. States suing one another has in the past always been about border disputes, water rights, or interstate commerce. None of these apply to an election. While I doubt SCOTUS will accept the Texas AG’s case, we still have to wait. Article III of the Constitution does grant SCOTUS original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases, specifically "all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party." However, SCOTUS has set precedent in the past that they do not have to accept cases where they hold original jurisdiction. Most legal scholars believe that the Texas AG’s lawsuit has no merit, and SCOTUS will refuse to consider it.


What worries me is not the casting of the electoral votes on Monday but the counting of the Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021. If a Senator and a Representative sign an objection to the votes cast by a state’s electors, then the joint session must be adjourned so the Senate can return to their chamber to debate the objection. The House will remain and hold a debate in their chamber (the counting of the electoral votes always occurs in the House chamber). The House and Senate have up to two hours to debate before they vote separately to accept or reject the objection. Once the vote has been cast, the Senators return to the House chamber, and the joint session will resume. The good thing is that BOTH the House and Senate must agree to accept the objection and throw out the election results. This is unlikely as the Democratically controlled House will not vote to throw out any election results. However, this process must be done as soon as an objection with the two required signatures is made. The counting of votes cannot continue until a debate and vote is completed and must be done each time there is an objection with the required signatures is submitted. 


What worries me is how much time this will take if the process is repeatedly done. It could delay the certification of the electoral votes by Congress for days. At the most, it could likely take 6-7 days if Republicans object only to the electoral votes by the states Biden won, and the Joint Session only meets for 8 hours a day. The length of time Congress would meet, I believe, would be controlled by Vice President Mike Pence, who is statutorily required to chair the Joint Session, unless he passes that responsibility to Pro Tempore of the Senate, Chuck Grassley (R-IA). If Republicans somehow stupidly did delay the count until after noon January 20, according to the Electoral Counting Act, the Speaker of the House would be sworn in as Interim President at noon on Inauguration Day when Trump’s term officially ends. She would serve as Interim President until the election is certified by Congress. Sadly, this would likely mean that Nancy Pelosi would have to resign to become Interim President. As far as I know, there is no option for her to refuse and pass it on to Grassley, who is next in the line of succession. If Pelosi is required to resign to become Interim President, the California Governor cannot just appoint her back to her seat. Members of the House of Representatives must be filled through an election, not appointment like Senators can be, so she would have to win a special election for her to return to her seat in the House. Whether she could return as Speaker of the House is a question of procedure for which I don’t know the answer. 


All of this sounds like mere speculation, but a delay in the Electoral College count process is a very real possibility. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) is already trying to frighten the more than 80 million Americans who voted for President-elect Joe Biden into thinking that there is a chance he and other Republicans in Congress could overturn the 2020 election results. To this end, Brooks has stated that he’s planning to challenge the Electoral College votes when Congress reviews them on January 6. As Brooks put it (without any evidence): “This election was stolen by the socialists engaging in extraordinary voter fraud and election theft measures.” Brooks also shared he’s actively seeking to recruit additional Republican members of Congress to join his efforts to prevent Biden from becoming the 46th president because, as he sees it, “Donald Trump won the Electoral College by a significant margin.” Even if he follows through with his threat, it won’t matter. It will only delay the inevitable.


Joe Biden will receive his projected 306 electoral votes on Monday to secure his election victory when the electors meet in their respective states. He will have well over the 270 required to become the next President. Those votes will be counted in a Joint Session of Congress. While Brooks’s objection may be an interesting (and potentially frightening) constitutional thought experiment, in reality, it doesn't matter. No Republican Senator signaled any enthusiasm for Brooks' plan. In fact, they have been downright dismissive of it. However, if Trump starts lobbying Republican Senators, that could change. We all know there are crazy, idiotic, stupid, Trumpist Senators who could join in and sign an objection along with Brooks. The Alabama Congressman may very well be able to enlist one Republican Senator—or even more than one—to sign his objection on January 6, given that such grandstanding will ingratiate Republicans with Trump's base. This will likely cause a delay of hours or maybe days if they continue their stupidity long enough. But that’s all it will be — one final delay. 


All of the grandstanding and claims of election fraud is dangerous to the United States’ democratic institutions. I am tired of this stupidity that has gripped the U.S. and the Republican Party. The Republican Party has only one chance to redeem itself in any way, and that chance is quickly slipping through their fingers as they continue to humor Donald Trump’s delusions. There is no doubt this election will go down in history as one of the most fucked up ever. Even the election of 1876 did not see this much stupidity from a losing side, and that election was the reason Congress passed the Electoral Counting Act in the first place. Regardless of the attempted delays the Republicans may try, come Inauguration Day, Trump will be yelling at TV screens in Mar-a-Lago, and Joe Biden will be sitting behind the Resolute Desk (after the White House is fumigated and disinfected first).


JiEL said...

This post election in USA is very very sad not to say worse.
From many outsiders and other democratic country all this situation is nonsense when we thought that a country that had put men on the moon and other technological achievements, is not able to hold a fair and well maanage national election.

106 GOP Senate members with Republican States are going to the Supreme Court to invalidate that election that was, as many said, the most secured ever.

All this «shit» after all the votes were counted and verified many times is coming from the «Looser in Chief» that is acting like a child after loosing his case to get back is toys.

Shame on him but this is also shameful for USA in the face to the rest of the world who are witnessing all this like it could be happening in a «banana country» or worse as DJT said, in a «shithole country».

For sure with all his lawsuite and angry tweets he isn't making «America Great Again».

Hope that all those of the «Trumparty» will pay for their cowardness and bad behavior anti constitutional.

Joe said...

JiEL, the thing is, the United States did hold a fair and well-managed national election. We just have a bunch fo crybabies who don't want to admit defeat, especially the Crybaby-in-Chief. The courts, election officials, and the US Attorney General have all said this was a fair and well-managed election. Trump and his minions/cultists can't admit defeat. It is a sad day when one person could end all of this stupidity, i.e. Donald Trump, if he would just admit he lost this election fair and squared, but he is incapable of acting like a mature human being. He cares nothing about American democracy (and I say American because I include the democracy that exists in all of the Americas), and he is sowing doubt in people who are weak-minded, imbeciles, who want someone to control their lives for them because they are too stupid to do so for themselves. The exception comes when it is inconvenient for them, such as being asked to wear a fucking mask to protect others from a deadly virus.

The stupidity that exists in U.S. has always existed everywhere in the world; it is just front and center right now in the United States. The Republican Party needs to pay a HEAVY price for the destruction they have wrought for the last four years. The likes of Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham, Rand Paul, and all the other insufferable idiots of the Republican Party need to be silenced. I'm not saying they should be shot or killed like Trump supporters are saying should happen to government officials who are saying the election of legitimate, I just mean that Democrats need to win the two Senate seats in the Georgia runoff election, and all the Senators who backed Trump's illegal behavior should be sanctioned by the Senate. They need to be relegated by the Democratic Party to insignificant positions in committees and in every way possible, just as the Republicans have done to the Democrats in the Senate. Laws need to be passed to make sure that the illegal and immoral behavior that Republicans have gotten away with in the last four or five years can NEVER happen again.

Furthermore, this lawsuit filed by the Texas AG is worthless. It is all to get a pardon from Trump for the massive number of fraud and bribery allegations that he will surely be convicted of when the FBI finishes their investigation of him. Paxton is an idiotic, ass-kissing, slime ball, and he needs to be put in his place. I hope the Supreme Court not only rejects his case but sanctions him for wasting their time by filing a frivolous lawsuit with the highest court in the land.

JiEL said...

I totaly agree with you and I saw all what you said on CNN.

The last frontier now is the Georgia election with hope that the two Democrats would win this so important battle to win the Senate.

Yes, we cannot wish a kind of «death sentence» for those idiots from the Repubilcan party and all those like Rudy Giulianni who are snakes that are ramping all over DJT's feet but I could pray the Lord to make COVID 19 do the most damaging effects on them as it did to now over 19 million deaths of honest US citizens.

How many more «Pearl Harbour» deaths will it take to put a microscopic good sense and awareness to those who are still ignoring the dangerousness of this pandemic?

The Justice of God should be coming on USA... Just saying..

naturgesetz said...

As an article in The Atlantic pointed out, what Donald Trump is doing now is an attempted coup — what is called a "self-coup," in which the person in power tries to stay in power after being defeated. Given his psychopathology, it is hardly surprising that he would try to overturn the election. What is surpeising and disappointing, and infuriating is that there are so many Republicans who are willing to join in the coup attempt by supporting the Texas case and so few who are willing to oppose it publicly, even though it is obvious that Joe Biden won the election fair and square.

I can't understand why so many are willing to tie themselves to Trump even when they know he lost the election. Maybe a lot of them figure that he'll be gone on January 29 whether or not they say anything, so the smart thing politically is to avoid upsetting his supporters, but somebody has to pull the party into post-Trump mode, or we'll need another party.

Joe said...

Naturgesetz, Historian Heather Cox Richardson explains far better than I can why so many Republicans are will to tie themselves to Trump even when they know he lost the election. This is what she wrote:

There is a war underway for control of the Republican Party. While a losing incumbent president usually loses influence in the party, Trump intends to continue to call the shots. He wants to run again in 2024, or at least to anoint a successor, rather than letting the Republican National Committee pick a presidential candidate. There is a struggle going on to control the RNC and, as well, to figure out who gets control of the lists of supporters Trump has compiled. Trump also controls a lot of the party’s money, since he has been out front as its fundraiser without a break since he decided to run for office. He was the first president ever to file for reelection on the day of his inauguration, permitting him to hold “rallies” and to raise money throughout his presidency.

So Republican lawmakers are willing to swear loyalty to him, either because they want to attract his voters in future elections, or because they want access to the cash he can raise, or both. They no longer defend traditional policy positions; they defend Trump.

This loyalty requires contortions. In Georgia, the Republican Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr called the Texas lawsuit “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong.” But Georgia’s two senators, Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, have backed it. The senators are facing a runoff election in January against Democrat challengers Jon Ossoff and the Reverend Raphael Warnock, and they need Trump’s support. So they are taking a stand against their own voters. So are nearly half of Georgia’s Republican congressional delegation, despite the fact that this position logically would overturn their own elections.

Texas’s lawsuit and the Republican Party’s embrace of it is an unprecedented attempt to destroy the very foundation of our democracy. Since the 1980s, Republican leaders have managed to hold onto power by suppressing votes, promoting disinformation, gerrymandering states, gaming the Electoral College, and stacking the courts.

Now, so unpopular that even gaming the mechanics of our system is not enough, they have abandoned democracy itself.