Two Republican lawyer-senators search for loopholes in democracy

Two Republican lawyer-senators look for loopholes in democracy

Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Was the first to vigorously step out to accept a vain objection to the election voting. In a statement, his office announced that he would speak out against certification of the result on Wednesday to highlight “the failure of some states, including Pennsylvania, to comply with their own electoral laws, as well as the unprecedented interference by big tech monopolies in elections “. This latter point is a Hawley hobbyhorse applying another conservative media plot to the subject of the moment.

But Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) Has been in the Senate for some time and knows the attempts to turn conservative zeal into attention. So, in a very senate-like manner, he has outperformed Hawley, compiling a collection of nearly a dozen senators and elected senators who have issued a joint statement focusing on “unprecedented allegations of electoral fraud, fraud, and lax enforcement” of other voting irregularities . “Almost 4 in 10 Americans believe the elections have been” rigged “- a” tragic “development that required action.

This development is of course a function of these “unprecedented allegations” which are completely decoupled from reality. Trump and his allies, including Hawley and Cruz, have stepped up the unsubstantiated allegation of election fraud to alleviate Trump’s loss. That about 40 percent of Americans believe that, despite the total lack of evidence, these allegations should be viewed as evidence of a failure of honest discourse, not choice.

Cruz and his crew offered a very institutional remedy for their alleged concerns: a 10-day review of the vote by a newly formed congressional committee in “controversial” states (read: states that Trump lost). It is an odd request as many of these states have already carried out recounts or audits through their bipartisan state offices.

Cruz’s attempt to own the Trump defense attorney trail in his caucus was somewhat hampered, however, when Senator Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) Condemned both Cruz’s letter and Hawley’s stated objection.

“The Senators justify their intention by saying that there have been many allegations of fraud. However, allegations of lost campaign fraud cannot justify overturning an election, ”Toomey’s statement said in part. “They do not acknowledge that these allegations were heard in courtrooms across America and not supported by evidence.”

Pennsylvania, of course, is one of the states at the center of Trump’s claims, as the slow vote count – itself a function of the Republican opposition to pre-election ballot counting – made President-elect Joe Biden overdone nearly two months ago.

Hawley responded to Toomey’s opposition by again claiming questionable activities in his colleague’s condition that required raising eyebrows.

“[I]n Pennsylvania: Since the 19th century, the Pennsylvania Constitution has required all votes to be cast in person, with strictly defined exceptions. This fact is widely recognized. Pennsylvania courts have ruled this issue several times. But last year the state parliament passed a new law that provides for a postal vote for whatever reason, which directly contradicts the state constitution. In November this year, state officials enacted the new law. More than 2.5 million Pennsylvanians voted by mail on November 6 (or after), in numbers well above the difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. “

This is a remarkable, and presumably deliberately dishonest, explanation for why the voices of millions of Pennsylvanians should be thrown in the trash.

First, it will be noted that there is no claim that these votes do not accurately reflect the will of Pennsylvania voters, but that they may have been cast after a change in law that Hawley believes is invalid. These postal ballot papers predominantly favored Biden, so the expanded process of counting them slowly but inexorably made it clear that Trump had lost the state. Throw those ballots the kind of technique Hawley claims and suddenly Trump wins Pennsylvania.

But Hawley’s account of what happened to the law is also misleading and inaccurate. He claims that a bill called Act 77, passed “last year,” came into effect for the November elections, suggesting a grim attempt to reshape the electorate. In fact, the Postal Voting Extension Act was passed in October 2019 – thanks largely to Republican votes – and incorporated into law that same month. It went into effect immediately, but there were no elections until the 2020 primaries.

Changes included the introduction of a no-excuse mail-in voting that was used with no issues in the state’s June primary. But then Trump won that competition.

The crux of Hawley’s claim, of course, is that there is an alleged conflict between the law passed in 2019 and the state’s constitution, a conflict that he claims has escaped trial.

But that is also misleading, especially in the present situation. In late November, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed a constitutional lawsuit. The Chief Justice of the Court, Thomas Saylor, specifically stated that the state’s vote should stand despite such questions.

“[T]The electorate has relied too much on the unexcused mail-in voting regime created by Law 77 to warrant a judicial review of the defendants’ extreme and untenable remedies is to throw away those 2.6 million votes.

As noted by University of Kentucky Suffrage Professor Josh Douglas, the decision itself agreed to allow postal ballot papers because “the clear legislative intent that underlies Law 77 and enlivens much of this case, [was] to give voters the opportunity to vote outside traditional polling stations. “This intention was confirmed in the decision.

Again, this alleged problem with Pennsylvania’s electoral law is the central claim that Hawley has repeatedly made to rationalize his objection to the confirmation of the election results. He argues that the objection is merely an attempt to get his concerns heard, but that claim breaks down when one looks at the content of those concerns. It is also undermined by Hawley’s hand waving that “some states” besides Pennsylvania have failed to comply with existing electoral laws, to exaggerate the problem, since even rejecting the Pennsylvania results would not affect the election result.

To a not inconsiderable extent, both Hawley’s and Cruz’s objections to the 2020 results are an attempt to appease a Republican base that has been repeatedly misled by finding clever loopholes in the democratic process. The two senators are lawyers, and their claims are legal in the most derogatory sense of the word. The effect is to step up an unprecedented effort to undermine confidence in the American system.