Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) fumed at Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) for contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election last week, saying that they needed to “get out” and they “do not belong” in the Senate.
“And so, I want to be clear to Senator Ted Cruz, you do not belong in the United States Senate. I want to be clear to Senator Josh Hawley, you do not belong in the United States Senate,” AOC ranted in an hour-long Instagram Live video. “You do not belong in any democratically elected seat when you don’t, when you do not believe that that election was even legitimate, according to your self-serving claims. So get out.”
.@AOC, on Instagram, reflects on the Capitol Hill riot: “I thought I was going to die. And you have all of those thoughts where, at the end of your life, all of these thoughts come rushing to you … I did not know if I was going to make out of that day alive.” pic.twitter.com/JX0gLNtMAY
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 13, 2021
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley noted that Democrats have raised some of the same objections in the past and that “it was not constitutional arson then, and it is not that now.”
“It is the use of a federal law to raise a challenge that has been raised in past elections over important issues of voter fraud or irregularity,” Turley wrote. “As with past Democratic challenges, this one by Republicans will not succeed. However, the point of yelling ‘fire!’ is to cause panic for political purposes.”
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board recently argued that the law that allows for challenging election results is unconstitutional:
In our view this week’s exercise is also unconstitutional. The text of the original charter, elaborated by the 12th Amendment, gives state legislatures the power to appoint electors. The Vice President is charged to open the votes to be counted—nothing more.
The Electoral Count Act of 1887, which the House and Senate will act upon, is unconstitutional in giving Congress the ability to second-guess those state decisions. In stretching this law for a partisan exercise, Republicans are also giving Democrats more ammunition to use in their campaign to overturn the Electoral College in favor of a direct popular vote.
This is the fire Republicans are playing with, no matter their political calculation. Some may figure the vote Wednesday is merely symbolic; they can show solidarity with Mr. Trump’s voters and dodge a primary challenge in 2022. Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are making their own presidential calculations for 2024. But the cost of this showboating will be more political cynicism, and a precedent that Democrats are sure to exploit in the aftermath of some future close election.
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Author: Ryan Saavedra