Democrats need a wider margin to more easily pass their bills in the House of Representatives. While the November elections were more than positive for the blue party, the reality is that the GOP took some seats and, with the confirmation of Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) as Secretary of the Interior, the Democrats will lose another seat. As a result, Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi has sprung into action and has a new mission on her mind: to unseat Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA).
Pelosi wants to challenge in the House of Representatives the election results that favored Miller-Meeks, who won by a margin of 6 votes over Democrat Rita Hart and managed to change the color of the seat in favor of the GOP. After the votes were counted, Iowa election officials themselves certified Miller-Meeks as the winner.
Hart, a Democrat, turned to the House Administration Committee to investigate the whole situation.
Does she have the legal right? Yes.
“Under the U.S. Constitution, each House of Congress has the express authority to be the judge of the “elections and returns” of its own Members (Article I, Section 5, Clause 1),” says the regulations for “Procedures for Contested Election Cases in the House of Representatives .”
“Although initial challenges and recounts for the House are conducted at the state level, under the state’s authority to administer federal elections (Article I, Section 4, cl. 1), continuing contests may be presented to the House, which, as the final arbiter, may make a conclusive determination of a claim to the seat..”
A rare case
While the case is legal, the situation is unusual and, for this very reason, criticism is resting on Pelosi’s shoulders. She has been called a hypocrite for questioning that several Republicans and former President Trump tried to reverse the November presidential results, while she, along with other Democrats, is doing exactly the same thing by trying to unseat a representative who democratically won her seat and was sworn in.
“The votes were counted, they were recounted, they were certified by the state, but the House Administration Committee started a process this week that could lead to unseating the congresswoman,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Pelosi.
“Well, it was six votes, and our candidate asked for this process. This [situation] is not unique, this has happened even maybe when you were still on Capitol Hill before. When the advantage has been very close for one side or the other it’s been said ‘let’s take it to the House.’ Even Justice Scalia agreed that the House has the authority to seat members and recount the votes,” Pelosi said in response to an interviewer’s question where she left open a “hypothetical” in which Democrat Hart could unseat Rep. Miller-Meeks.
Criticism against Pelosi
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is among those to criticize Pelosi’s double standards.
An article in The Post Millenial says “This contrasts sharply with Pelosi’s attitude toward the November 2020 general election (though they match her sentiments in November 2016), and critics call this blatant hypocrisy and partisanship.”
Separately, Fox News brought out a broader report on the Democratic Party’s move trying to unseat Republican Rep. Miller-Meeks.
“And you thought the 2020 election was over (…) The House could be a case study in the execution of the crudest, most Machiavellian power politics possible. Even on Capitol Hill,” the article begins. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) opened the door wide to the possibility of unseating a current Republican member and replacing him or her with a Democrat.”
According to the media outlet, this remedy Pelosi wants to implement differs from other processes because it has never before unseated (i.e., the seat passes from one candidate to another) a representative after being sworn in. Also, as discussed, it is an unusual process and one has to go back several years for similar records.
“The House hasn’t played around with nullifying an election this much since 1985. Indiana election officials determined that Republican Rick McIntyre defeated Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-IN) in 1984. Indiana election officials certified McIntyre as the winner by 34 votes. But officials never tabulated nearly 5,000 ballots,” Fox explained.
“The House did not appoint McIntyre or McCloskey when the 99th Congress began in January 1985. The seat remained vacant. House Speaker Tip O’Neill (D) charged a three-member panel (two of them Democrats) with determining the outcome of the election. The panel ultimately decided that McCloskey prevailed, by four votes. In May 1985, the House appointed McCloskey to replace McIntyre. Some Democrats even voted against McCloskey’s election. But it didn’t matter. The Democrats held more than 250 seats and had controlled the House for three straight decades,” they added.
After this, Republicans said this was an abuse of power by the Democratic Party and walked out of the House in protest.
Now the situation is even more delicate. because the current Republican representative won the election by a narrow margin and she was sworn in. Now the Speaker of the House, Pelosi, says that it is a hypothesis that the seat will be reversed.
But it will not be easy, the rules say that “In election cases under the jurisdiction of the Committee on House Administration (…) the committee shall generally issue a report and submit a resolution concerning the disposition of the case, which must be approved by the full House. The committee may recommend, and the House may pass by a simple majority, a decision affirming the challenger’s right to the seat, may seat the challenger, or deem neither party entitled to be finally seated and declare the vacancy.”
Pelosi will need to convince moderate Democrats to vote for an overthrow that is virtually unprecedented.