Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fun with non-existent Constitutional loopholes, featuring Judson Phillips

Judson Phillips is upset that Obama won the election.  Unlike most disappointed Republicans, though, he's got a bold plan to fix things.  He's discussing this plan over at WND, which some of you may recognize as the "media outlet" responsible for propagating the birther conspiracy and Joseph Farah's mustache.

I believe that if left untrimmed, it would just continue to grow outward horizontally forever.

What's the way forward, Judson?

We have one last, final chance to save America. We have one last, final chance to stop Barack Obama. One final chance.

This should be good.  Let me go make some popcorn.

What is this final chance? Will the Republicans step up to the plate and do what is necessary?

Barack Obama has not yet been re-elected president.

I can't wait to see whether this article will rely more on denial, anger, bargaining, or depression!  Based on that sentence, it definitely won't be acceptance.

Yes, the election is over – but remember, a presidential election in America is not by popular vote. We vote for the candidate, but what we are really doing is voting for the electors who will meet on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December.

That is when the actual re-election of the president occurs.

OK.  I guess technically, that's accurate, although it is already clear that your "plan" is to find an absurd loophole based on a misreading of the Constitution regarding the Electoral College.  At this point, it may help to have a better idea of who Judson Phillips is; he's the founder of Tea Party Nation, which has a wide variety of goals, of which most are summed up in this screenshot of their website (purple highlights are me, pointing out the more inane items):

Alright, the twinkie thing is pretty good.  I see you, Tea Party Nation.
Anyway, let's move on!  So far, I get that Judson wants us to understand that the actual re-election hasn't occurred yet, but even if it hasn't, is there any chance that Obama won't win the Electoral College at this point?

Is there a way to stop this?

I don't know, Judson!  You tell me.

Yes, there is.

(Tea) Party time!
And the best part – this is totally constitutional.

The 12th Amendment of the Constitution as well as Article II of the Constitution govern the Electoral College.

According to the 12th Amendment, for the Electoral College to be able to select the president, it must have a quorum of two-thirds of the states voting. If enough states refuse to participate, the Electoral College will not have a quorum. If the Electoral College does not have a quorum or otherwise cannot vote or decide, then the responsibility for selecting the president and vice president devolves to the Congress.

The House of Representatives selects the president and the Senate selects the vice president.

Since the Republicans hold a majority in the House, presumably they would vote for Mitt Romney, and the Democrats in the Senate would vote for Joe Biden for vice president.

So, first of all, this is all entirely untrue.  The 2/3 quorum refers to what is required in the House of Representatives to vote on things like who will be president IF the electoral college can't decide on a president for whatever reason.  Having 1/3 of the electors refuse to show up will do nothing.  Second of all, do you not feel at least a little weird about basically advocating a course that would circumvent our entire electoral process?  Not only will it not work because you got the law wrong, but also this sounds like the kind of thing that happens in countries run by people whose names rhyme with Gladimir Bootin.

Democratic process?  Nah, that doesn't sound fun at all.
Can this work?

All together now!

No, Judson, no.  It can't.

Sure it can.

Sigh.  I'm not going out and finding more gifs just for you, Judson.

Democrats have actually set this precedent of refusing to participate to deny Republicans a quorum. They did this in Wisconsin and in Texas. Why can’t we do this with the Electoral College?

Like I said, it's because that's not how the rules work in the Electoral College.

[Several paragraphs redacted for being further explanation of Judson's incorrect understanding of the Electoral College]

It does not matter who gets credit for this. The credit is not important. Using our last chance to defeat Barack Obama is important.

You guys, I'm pretty sure Judson wants some credit for his terrible wrong idea.

Far too often the Republican Party seems more interested in losing gracefully than winning and governing.

Fox's election night coverage would like a word.
This is our last chance. We the people must contact the electors, party officials and secretaries of state from every red state and insist that they refuse to participate in the Electoral College.

We can still save America and use the Constitution to do it. But this truly is our last chance.

We can still save America!  By refusing to participate in our Constitutionally created democratic institutions!

UPDATE: Before I finished writing this, it appears that someone alerted Judson to the fact that the entire basis of his article is incorrect, since this disclaimer appeared at the top:

Editor’s note: Since this column was posted it has been discovered that the premise presented about the Electoral College and the Constitution is in error. According to the 12th Amendment, a two-thirds quorum is required in the House of Representatives, not the Electoral College.

In true WND style, while they do acknowledge an error, they won't change the initial article to reflect the true facts, and put up a vague disclaimer that isn't clear as to how much of the article depended on that one fact.  Journalism!

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