Should Congress ban 126 GOP members for backing Texas lawsuit? NJ Dem wants to invoke Civil War law on traitors
Bill Pascrell slammed the members who supported President Donald Trump in his bid to overturn poll results and spoke about the 14th Amendment
The US political circles look increasingly polarized over President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede defeat against Joe Biden in the presidential election held last month. The incumbent president’s allies were looking forward to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton moving the Supreme Court to overturn the results in four key states that went to Biden. Even more House Republicans joined the congressional lawmakers on Friday, December 11, supporting the lawsuit to invalidate the results in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Wisconsin and bring legal relief to Trump.
An additional 20 House GOP members supporting the lawsuit meant 126 members in all (or 64 percent of the entire House Republican conference) threw their weights behind Trump’s bid to win the election at the courts even though his claims of the election being rigged did not find much evidence on the ground.
The House Republicans just updated their SCOTUS brief to make clear that it's not actually 107 Republican House members who want the Supreme Court to overturn Trump's defeat by discarding millions of votes.— Brad Heath (@bradheath) December 11, 2020
(Almost 2/3 of the GOP caucus.) https://t.co/OJVaVEPK4k pic.twitter.com/Sdghb4VO76
But the lawsuit, which Trump and 17 states supported, fell flat as the SCOTUS rejected it on the grounds that the Lone Star State did not have any standing to file it. The court said in a brief order: “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”
After the SCOTUS blow, GOP faces NJ Congressman's challenge
After the SCOTUS refused to facilitate the Republicans’ goal, the Democrats found their opportunity. Bill Pascrell, a Democratic Congressman from New Jersey said on Dacember 11 that the 126 GOP members who sought to overturn the election results in favor of Trump should not be seated in the Congress. Among the 126 House members is also Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader.
Pascrell even went to the extent of arguing that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment should be invoked to keep the GOP members from holding office.
Section 3 of 14th Amendment
"No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,” the section reads. Pascrell also penned what Section 3 says after saying in his letter: "The courageous Reconstruction Congress implanted into our governing document safeguards to cleanse from our government ranks any traitors and others who would seek to destroy the Union. To that end, Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment stipulates that..."
Pascrell wants those seeking to make Trump 'unelected dictator' ousted
In a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren, Pascrell wrote: “Stated simply, men and women who would act to tear the United States government apart cannot serve as Members of the Congress. These lawsuits seeking to obliterate public confidence in our democratic system by invalidating the clear results of the 2020 presidential election undoubtedly attack the text and spirit of the Constitution, which each Member swears to support and defend.”
“Consequently, I call on you to exercise the power of your offices to evaluate steps you can take to address these constitutional violations this Congress and, if possible, refuse to seat in the 117th Congress any Members-elect seeking to make Donald Trump an unelected dictator.”
The 83-year-old lawmaker also said in his letter that actions taken by any of the congress members to demolish the American democracy irrespective of party affiliation must be repudiated strongly. He also said the 14th Amendment, one of the Reconstruction Amendments that were adopted in the years after the Civil War, was penned to “prevent the destruction of the United States from within and without”. “The moment we face now may be without parallel since 1860. The fate of our democracy depends on us meeting that moment,” he added.
Today I’m calling on House leaders to refuse to seat any Members trying to overturn the election and make donald trump an unelected dictator. pic.twitter.com/icTmGKCpuR— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) December 11, 2020
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was written after the Civil War to bar from government any traitors who would seek to destroy the Union.— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) December 11, 2020
My letter to House leadership today demands that 126 Republicans (and counting) are violating the Constitution. pic.twitter.com/4ti0OU1kpP
In his strongly worded letter, Pascrell also cited the Powell v McCormack case (1969) in which the Supreme Court acknowledges the Congress “may exclude a member-elect with a simple majority”. He also shared a piece on the history of expulsion of members of the Congress. In early 1861, the Senate examined the status of members representing states that were contemplating secession and expelled 10 members in a single vote after the Civil War had begun.