Arrington: Congress has responsibility to ensure integrity of elections
Washington, January 10, 2021
Dear West Texas,
What happened Wednesday in the Capitol was unacceptable, and the people who committed these acts of violence and lawlessness should be held accountable. No group of people bent on destruction should get a pass – all violence must be condemned, and swiftly.
As Americans, we believe that governments receive their “just powers” from the consent of the governed. That sacred transaction can only happen in a free and fair election. Therefore, election integrity is at the very heart of our republic and it is the lifeblood of our unrivaled system of self-government.
The Law and the Constitution give Congress not only the authority, but the responsibility to serve as the last check on the integrity of our presidential elections. We either believe, according to statute (3 USC 15), that every elector was “lawfully certified” and “regularly given,” or we don’t. No intellectually honest observer could characterize the 2020 election as regularly given. Some have argued that objections to electoral college votes is usurpation of state rights. That argument would ignore both the law and past legal precedent. States certainly have broad delegated power to administer federal elections, but they still must operate within the bounds of the Constitution.
Despite receiving numerous petitions, the Supreme Court failed to answer the most important question of the 2020 election: “Can entities outside of state legislatures make election law?” The Electors Clause in Article II of the Constitution answers that question unequivocally: NO.
Furthermore, courts have upheld the definition of “state legislatures” as applying only to duly elected legislative bodies and it does not extend to Governors, Secretaries of State, or the courts.
I took no pleasure in making my objection, nor did I wish for any state electors to be disqualified. However, based on my reading of the law, legal precedent, and the plain language of the Electors Clause in Article II, I could not support certifying votes from any state that violated the Constitution.
My decision was not about loyalty to a president or political party – it was about fidelity to the constitution and the oath I swore to support and defend it.
For those reasons, based on the law, Constitution, and my conscience, I objected.