The 2020 election cycle is over. Or so we thought. More than 4 months after Election Day, the Democrats in control of the House of Representatives are still eyeing a House seat won by Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa. The scorched-earth Democrats would like to snatch her seat away and give it to the loser of the race, Democrat candidate Rita Hart.
On November 30, 2020, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced that the state canvassing board had officially certified Republican Miller-Meeks’ victory over Democrat Hart in Iowa’s second Congressional district race. “The official result in #IA02 is @millermeeks 196,964 to @RitaHartIA 196,958. 6 vote difference,” he tweeted.
Sore loser Hart (at left above) decided to bypass a further challenge in the Iowa courts and to instead petition the House of Representatives directly to overturn the officially declared election result. Hart claimed that 22 ballots were wrongly excluded, despite multiple recounts.
Under Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members.” The Supreme Court has ruled that each congressional chamber’s final judgment is not reviewable by the courts because it is “a non-justiciable political question.” This extraordinary power to potentially override the will of the voters has historically been used quite sparingly.
Congress passed the Federal Contested Election Act, which permits losing candidates in a state election for a House seat to bring a challenge before the House by filing a motion with the House clerk. But Hart skipped over a vital step before taking her petition to the House of Representatives. Candidates have been required in the past to exhaust all their state election contest remedies first before seeking a ruling from the House as a final resort. Hart couldn’t be bothered, however, with following such an orderly process. She reached out immediately to her political allies in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grabbed at the chance to pad her Democrat majority margin in the House by any means necessary, keeping the door open to Hart’s challenge. Pelosi said last December that “the issue relating to Iowa is an issue for the House Administration Committee” and that the “House decides who it will seat.” To buy some time while the committee decided what course to take, Pelosi agreed only to “provisionally” seat Rep. Miller-Meeks in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives when the new 117th Congress convened on January 3, 2021.
According to a report issued by the Congressional Research Service in 2016, “Since 1933, it appears that an explicit provisional seating of a Member-elect, with express referral by the House of the question of the final right to a seat to the committee of jurisdiction, has occurred in only two instances.” Pelosi’s maneuver has now added to this tiny handful of instances.
Pelosi’s House Democrat caucus is responsible for half of the proceedings to impeach a president in this country’s more than two centuries of history. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Pelosi and her House comrades would set in motion such an audacious abuse of power to take away Rep. Miller-Meeks’ seat and give it to her defeated Democrat opponent.
As a result of Pelosi’s despicable power play, Rep. Miller-Meeks has been serving her constituents under a cloud of uncertainty since she was provisionally seated. On March 10th, the House’s Committee on House Administration decided to keep Hart’s challenge alive, not addressing Rep. Miller-Meeks’ motion to dismiss the challenge on its merits.
Pelosi replied “of course” when asked at a press conference on March 11th whether she envisioned a scenario in which the House could overturn the state-certified victory of Rep. Miller-Meeks. “I respect the work of the committee. I did see, as you saw in the press, what they decided to… And they were following my, as I read it, the requirements of the law as to how you go forward. And how you go forward is the path you’re on and we’ll see where that takes us. But there could be a scenario to that extent. Yes.”
What lies ahead on the “path” the committee is taking will undoubtedly be a drawn-out, biased proceeding conducted by the Democrats’ partisan majority. This could involve depositions, interviews, subpoenas for witnesses and documents, a committee-conducted recount, and physical examination of disputed ballots and registration documents. After the committee makes its recommendation, the whole House gets to weigh in by a simple majority vote. Just in case, Rep. Miller-Meeks should be prepared to look for another job.
The Committee on House Administration’s ranking member, Rodney Davis, R-Illinois, respects the state election certification process as a matter of principle. He did not object to the certification of Electoral College results in January out of deference to the states’ certification processes. And Rep. Davis remains consistent in declaring his respect for Iowa’s certification process in Rep. Miller-Meeks’ case.
The Democrat House members who decried any effort by Republicans to exercise their constitutional right to challenge a state’s certification of presidential electors are the hypocrites. These same self-righteous blowhards are perfectly willing to entertain Hart’s challenge to Iowa’s state-certified election in which Rep. Miller-Meeks was declared the winner following the state’s multi-layered, bipartisan review process.
If Hart had followed her state’s election procedures for an impartial judicial adjudication of a disputed vote count before running to her friends in the House of Representatives, she would have taken her case first to Iowa’s court for the trial of contested elections. This is the court that conducts a trial of contested presidential and congressional elections in the state and reaches a considered judgment as to the legitimate winner. Instead, Hart did an end run of Iowa’s process for judicial review of an election dispute. She deliberately prevented a complete record from being assembled, reviewed, and formally judged at the state level by an independent judiciary. Not that the Pelosi gang would have deferred to the Iowa state court’s findings of fact or law anyway. The Pelosi gang is getting set to serve as partisan judge and jury in Hart’s behalf.
Rep. Miller-Meeks is understandably outraged. During a March 12th interview on Fox News’ Special Report, she said:
“What my opponent wants to do is to violate Iowa law, go against Iowa law, and go against the representation of the voters of Iowa, and disenfranchise 400,000 voters because she didn’t get the results she wanted… States should rule their election, voters in that state should decide who represents them. This is a process where they want to go against the laws of our state, the election laws of our state, against the voters of our state, and to determine who they want to seat in Congress.”
The House Democrats’ willingness to overturn the state-certified results of the Iowan congressional election is a shameless indication of what the left will do to establish one-party rule in Washington. Even more ominous is the falsely titled “For the People Act” (H.R.1), which the House passed on March 3rd and sent over to the Senate. This horrendous bill runs roughshod over the states’ constitutional authority to determine the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives” (Article I, Section 4). For example, H.R.1 would override perfectly constitutional state voter identification laws. H.R.1 would prevent states from outlawing fraud-prone vote harvesting or from limiting the scope of distribution of mail-in ballots to voters with reasonable cause to vote by mail. And it would do away with rigorous state signature matching requirements. These provisions and others in H.R.1 were designed to blur the line between legal and illegal votes, a stratagem that helps Democrats to illegitimately pad their vote count. Confirming the partisan intent behind H.R.1, it transforms the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) from a bipartisan, six-member body to a five-member body subject to the control of a partisan majority.
H.R.1 also violates the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech from government infringement. Nine former FEC members warned in a letter to leaders of both the House and Senate that H.R.1 contains overly burdensome disclosure and political advertising requirements as well as other provisions that would have a “harmful impact on First Amendment speech and association rights.” They concluded their letter by cautioning that the partisan direction H.R.1 takes would have a “likely ruinous effect on our political system.”
Rep. Miller-Meeks voted against H.R.1, which, she said, “would undermine state election laws and voter’s trust in their elections.” The Pelosi gang would like nothing more than to silence Rep. Miller-Meeks’ voice by unconscionably stealing her own well-earned House seat in violation of the Iowan voters’ will.