In the most recent hearing by the January 6 Committee the discussion was all about whether the then-Vice President, Mike Pence, had the authority to overturn the actual results of the election and throw the fight to Donald Trump.
He didn’t. No Vice President has had that authority.
A lot of the discussion centered around the 12th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
The 12th Amendment deals with the Electoral College and the counting of its votes to determine the next President and the next Vice-President..
There are 27 Amendments to the Constitution. Amendments are like the words to Christmas Carols: We all know the First line. Fewer know the Second, by the time we get through the Fifth, it’s time to start another song. Unless you’re a lawyer I defy you to explain the 9th Amendment.
The part of the 12th Amendment that was front and center in the hearing was this sentence:
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;
As a layman – i.e. someone who has exactly zero legal training in spite of my three hours of Con Law at Marietta College (Marietta Ohio, 45750) – there is nothing in that sentence dealing with making judgements on the validity of the Electors’ votes. According to the Constitution, the President of the Senate (the VP) has no role other than to “open all the certificates.”
The fact that the President of the Senate was actually on the ballot and was on the losing team has happened a lot in my lifetime.
Richard Nixon, was VP when he had to announce the results of his failed election bid against John F. Kenney. Al Gore had the same role in 2000 announcing the victory of George W. Bush. VPs who had to announce their boss’ defeat include Walter Mondale (Jimmy Carter v. Ronald Reagan) Dan Quayle (Bush 41 v. Bill Clinton).
By the way, that business about the 9th Amendment? Here’s the text:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
No wonder we can’t remember it.
A point that struck me during this week’s hearings were the words of the son-in-law-in-chief, Jared Kushner. He was asked what he thought about the threats of White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and his staff to resign.
Kushner said that the White House lawyers were always threatening to resign and that he, Kushner, put it down to “whining.”
That wasn’t the big part for me. This was: Kushner said he wasn’t paying all that much attention to the plot to tear up the Constitution by his father-in-law and his cronies because “My interest at that time was trying to get as many pardons done…”
Whoa. Check, please.
For whom was Kushner working so hard to be pardoned? Friends? Family? Former, current, and/or future business associates?
Were there any qui pro quos from any of these people to Kushner or any of the many Trump family and hangers-on who have fed at the Trump trough?
Maybe a future Congressional hearing.
Going back to Richard Nixon’s presiding over the counting of the electoral votes that saw Sen. John Kennedy be declared the winner of the 1960 election. After announcing the result, Nixon said this:
“In our campaigns, no matter how hard-fought they may be, no matter how close the election may turn out to be, those who lose accept the verdict, and support those who win.”
Nixon, no paragon of Presidential virtue as we later learned, got it right on January 6, 1961.
See you next week.