The Electoral College on Monday will formally cast the majority of its votes for President-elect Joe Biden, which should assure that he will be sworn in as the 46th president on Jan. 20.
But a group of hard-core Donald Trump loyalists are planning a desperate, long-shot effort on Jan. 6 on the floor of the House of Representatives to try to reverse that vote and award Trump a second term as president.
There is a provision laid out in the Electoral Count Act of 1887 that says lawmakers can challenge the results of the tallying process. Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks has indicated he may do just that. “We have a superior role under the Constitution than the Supreme Court does, than any federal court judge does, than any state court judge does,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “What we say, goes. That’s the final verdict.”
If there is an objection, senators and representatives would hold separate two-hour debates and then vote on whether to exclude a state’s votes. Both houses of Congress would have to agree to do so, something that hasn’t happened since the 19th century.No matter what, Vice President Mike Pence will be put in a truly bad position.
The Constitution assigns the vice president, who also is president of the Senate, the task of opening envelopes from all 50 states, announcing the Electoral College vote totals and declaring the winner of the presidential election. That means Pence will need to declare that Biden won the election over his boss for the past four years. Some wonder if Trump will try to prohibit Pence from carrying out that Constitutional responsibility.
“The role the V.P. plays in the transition is something that people have never focused on and never think about, but with Donald Trump, you now have to consider all the possibilities,” said Gregory B. Craig, a White House counsel under President Barack Obama.