Ward pleas to Alito to step into election dispute

Ward pleas to Alito to step into election dispute

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The head of the Arizona Republican Party is making a last-minute plea to a member of the U.S. Supreme Court to give her the ruling she wants that could keep President Trump in the White House for another four years.

“We are asking that our case go straight to the justice in charge of the Fifth Circuit,” Kelli Ward said on Monday in a Twitter post to followers. She figures that going directly to Justice Samuel Alito and asking him to immediately bar Vice President Mike Pence from following the procedures in the federal Electoral Count Act might get her the legal relief she wants, relief that both a trial judge and the Fifth Circuit refused to provide.

What going to Alito also could do is speed up the process, something crucial for Ward and her allies as Congress meets Wednesday, with Pence presiding, to count the electoral votes.

Ward contends the Electoral Count Act does not comply with the U.S. Constitution. So she wants Alito to order Pence to follow a different process, one where Trump would have an edge.

“That gets away from us having to file and wait for all nine justices to weigh in,” Ward said. “And it really expedites the process.”

But whether Alito is willing to act on his own and void the Electoral Count Act is questionable at best.

In fact, the full Supreme Court has turned away various prior challenges to the result of the November election. And the justices have refused to expedite two other cases on their docket, both involving Ward.

All this comes two days after the Fifth Circuit ruled that Ward, the other 10 would-be Arizona Republican electors and Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas lack legal standing to challenge that federal law.

Dr. Kelli Ward, chairperson of the Republican Party of Arizona, speaks to a gathering inside the Yuma GOP Headquarters, Monday Aug. 17, 2020, before introducing U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar. (Randy Hoeft/Yuma Sun via AP)
Dr. Kelli Ward, chairperson of the Republican Party of Arizona, speaks to a gathering inside the Yuma GOP Headquarters, Monday Aug. 17, 2020, before introducing U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar. (Randy Hoeft/Yuma Sun via AP)

“That’s unfortunate,” Ward said.

The judges, all appointed to the appellate bench by Republican presidents — including one tapped three years ago by President Trump — declined to say who, if anyone, might actually have standing to challenge the 1887 law that governs how Congress is required to deal with the electoral votes and a move by any federal lawmakers to contest the votes of any state.

Absent intervention now by Alito or the full the U.S. Supreme Court, that clears the way for Congress to meet on Wednesday to count the electoral votes which, according to results already certified by the states and upheld by various state and federal courts, would make Democrat Joe Biden is the next president, with 306 electoral votes — including 11 from Arizona — against 232 for the incumbent.

In the meantime Trump supporters in Congress are going ahead proceeding with their plans on Wednesday to challenge the results in several states that were won by Biden

In a press release Saturday, several lawmakers said they will vote on Wednesday to reject electors from what they say are “disputed states” until there is an electoral commission “with full investigatory and fact-finding authority” to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election result in those states. They said the results would be turned over to individual states to evaluate the commission’s finding, a move that they said would allow lawmakers in those states to “convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.”

All that, however, appears to depend on the Gohmert, Ward and the other 10 would-be Republican electors form Arizona getting Alito or the full Supreme Court to change the procedures for Wednesday’s count.

The U.S. Constitution puts Pence, as presiding officer of the Senate, in charge of what is normally a routine process. But the plan of some GOP members of Congress to object changes all that.

That’s where the lawsuit comes in.

If there is an objection, under the Electoral Count Act, both the House and Senate vote separately on whether each state’s disputed votes should be counted.

If the two chambers disagree, however, then the votes of the electors whose appointments have been certified by the governor of each state are the ones counted, just as already has been done in Arizona by Gov. Doug Ducey. That would be give the election to Biden.

Ward, however, argues the U.S. Constitution requires a process in which each state gets just one vote on such disputes, regardless of the number of members of Congress. The plea to Alito seeks to require Pence to follow that procedures.

That’s crucial.

Following the Electoral Count Act likely means insufficient votes to reject the electors. By contrast, Ward has admitted that the procedure she wants — the one vote per state — would give the edge to Trump, as there are more state delegations where Republicans outnumber Democrats.

While Pence, through his attorneys, fought the lawsuit against him, that doesn’t mean he is hostile to what Republican supporters of the president are trying to do.

“Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election,” his chief of staff, Marc Short, said in a statement Saturday. “The vice president welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”

That comes despite the fact that audits conducted in the disputed states have so far failed to show any level of fraud or misconduct that would alter the outcome of elections. And Trump, his attorneys and his allies, including Ward in separate litigation, have failed more than four dozen times to convince state and federal courts there is any reason to reject the outcome of the vote.