Conservatives across the social media world are calling on Vice President Mike Pence to act as Thomas Jefferson did when he counted the votes in the Senate in his own favor.
On Wednesday, January 6th, the Senate is set to count the final electoral votes and according to many constitutionalists, Pence may have a unique opportunity.
“Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, among the most revered founding fathers of our country, only became President because he used his unilateral power as President of the Senate to open and count the presidential ballots in his own favor.”
In a recent piece, Harvard Law magna cum laude Alexander Macris explains how Pence has the capability to change the outcome of the election if he feels that voter fraud took place.
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Macris dove into the the history books as he explained how Thomas Jefferson only won the presidency because he chose Georgia’s electoral college votes in his own favor.
Foley, also obviously unhappy with this situation, goes on to explain:
[Thus] Republicans [can] point to the historical pedigree of this position, observing that Republicans made the same argument during the disputed election of 1876 and that at least some recent law journal scholarship has supported this position. Unembarrassed by the apparent conflict of interest caused by Mike Pence simultaneously being a candidate for reelection and arbiter of the electoral dispute, these Republicans observe that Thomas Jefferson was in essentially the same position during the disputed election of 1800 and yet the Twelfth Amendment left this provision in place when Congress rewrote the procedures for the Electoral College afterwards.
Wait, Thomas Jefferson pulled this trick? Indeed he did. The 1800 Presidential election was a contest between Jefferson, Aaron Burr, John Adams, Charles Pinckney, and John Jay. Jefferson, as the current Vice President, was the President of the Senate when it came time to count the votes. And he counted them in his own favor! Bruce Ackerman and David Fontana explain what happened in their article “Thomas Jefferson Counts Himself into the Presidency” (90 Virginia Law Review 2004, 551-643):
Thomas Jefferson was remarkably aggressive as President of the Senate. Georgia’s certificate – granting four electoral votes to Jefferson – was constitutionally defective on its face, a deficiency that was announced on the floor of Congress and reported by leading newspapers of the day. To resolve all doubts, we have located Georgia’s certificate in the National Archives, and it does indeed reveal striking constitutional irregularities…
Nevertheless, Jefferson failed to pause before counting George’s four electoral votes into the Republican column, declaring the final vote as if nothing were amiss. Had Georgia’s ballot been excluded, the vote count…would have admitted all five candidates into a runoff in the House… Without the decisive use of his power as President of the Senate, Jefferson might never have become President of the United States. (emphasis added)
Read that again: Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, the man whose face adorns Mt Rushmore, among the most revered founding fathers of our country, only became President because he used his unilateral power as President of the Senate to open and count the presidential ballots in his own favor.
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