Can Todd Young out-MAGA MAGA by appealing to both the Almighty and the Constitution? The Senate Republican from Indiana gives it an impressive effort in attempting to engage with protesters on Capitol Hill this morning ahead of the Electoral College vote count today. When protesters demand that Young act to represent their “opinion” by objecting to slates of electors, Young tries to explain that opinions don’t overrule the law.
And when that argument starts going south, Young reminds them of his oath “under God” to uphold the Constitution:
Republican senators are being swarmed by Trump protesters on the Hill. Here’s an exasperated @SenToddYoung saying he won’t vote against certifying the election.
“I took oath under God… does that still matter in this country?” pic.twitter.com/9nQEbt9Okl
— Rebecca Tan (@rebtanhs) January 6, 2021
Liz Cheney made a similar argument on Twitter. Cheney also presents the constitutional issue a bit more accurately:
We have sworn an oath under God to defend the Constitution. We uphold that oath at all times, not only when it is politically convenient.
Congress has no authority to overturn elections by objecting to electors. Doing so steals power from the states & violates the Constitution.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) January 6, 2021
Just remember that Congress does not “certify” presidential elections. States certify electors, and Congress’ only role in the Constitution is to count them and settle disputes when states certify competing slates of electors. That is the only real purpose of the Electoral Count Act, as Andy McCarthy explained today. I linked it earlier, but it’s worth repeating:
In fact, under the Constitution, the Senate and House do not even certify the result.
It has become common over the past few weeks for federal lawmakers to refer to the joint session as their “certification” of the Electoral College result. Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), for example, told Fox’s Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum on Monday night that he needed to register some objections on behalf of his constituents because he could not otherwise, in good conscience, “certify” the election. But no one is asking him to certify anything. The Twelfth Amendment simply says the states’ votes get counted, and “the person with the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed” (emphasis added). Moreover, while Senator Hawley repeatedly claimed that Section 15 of the federal election law calls for Congress to certify the states’ votes, the statute says no such thing. Eight times, it refers to certificates or otherwise utters the word certified, but in each instance, it is referring to the state’s certification of its election result or its electors. There is no congressional certification because it’s the states that elect the president. No congressional sign-off is required.
In other words, the results of presidential elections come from the states, not Congress. If people want Congress to “certify” the chief executive, states would have to amend the Constitution to transform us into a parliamentary government. Until then, the sovereign states certify electors to choose the president, and Congress’ only role is to count the votes of those electors.
Thom Tillis, who won a surprise re-election victory in November, also recognizes the proper role of Congress. In a statement issued just minutes ago, Tillis warns that setting this precedent is a wildly destructive act — especially since no state has formally requested any such intervention:
“The Framers of our Constitution made it clear that the power to certify elections is reserved to the states, not Congress. Refusing to certify state election results has no viable path to success, and most importantly, it lends legitimacy to the Left’s stated policy objectives of completely federalizing elections and eliminating the Electoral College. Congress should not overstep its Constitutional authority by overturning the results of states and the will of American voters, especially absent legitimate requests from states for Congress to intervene.
“It is a precedent we should not set. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer should not have the power to set aside electors after the 2024 election and overrule federal courts and the Constitution as they see fit.
“I was proud to support President Trump’s agenda and campaign with him, and I am deeply disappointed he was not re-elected despite his success in creating jobs, cutting taxes, securing a conservative judiciary, reforming the VA, and rebuilding our military. Although I certainly wish the results were different, Congress cannot change them without inflicting irreparable damage to our Constitutional Republic. I will not oppose the certification of the Electoral College votes, and I will not embolden politicians in the future to appoint our presidents instead of having the American people duly elect them.”
Should be an epic showdown this afternoon between Republicans who support state sovereigny in practice and those who only support it in theory. Democrats in the House and Senate will be fighting, too … over the amount of popcorn to pass.