The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Yesterday, the newly elected House of Representatives' held its organizational session to recognize the credentials of those elected, select a Speaker, and adopt rules for the counting presidential electors, among other start-of-session matters.
During the session, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) filed an objection to seating those members purportedly elected in states in which the Trump Campaign and its allies are challenging the certified vote counts (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin). Rep. Roy, who is on record opposing efforts to challenge validly appointed presidential electors, explained his objection:
I do not make this objection lightly and take no pleasure in it, but believe that I am compelled to do so because a number of my colleagues — whom I hold in high regard — have publicly stated that they plan to object to the acceptance of electors from those particular six states due to their deeply held belief that those states conducted elections plagued by statewide, systemic fraud and abuse that leaves them absolutely no way for this chamber or our constituents to trust the validity of their elections.
Such allegations – if true – raise significant doubts about the elections of at least some of the members of the United States House of Representatives that, if not formally addressed, could cast a dark cloud of suspicion over the validity of this body for the duration of the 117th Congress. After all, those representatives were elected through the very same systems — with the same ballot procedures, with the same signature validations, with the same broadly applied decisions of executive and judicial branch officials — as were the electors chosen for the President of the United States under the laws of those states, which have become the subject of national controversy. And while the legislatures of those states have sent us no formal indication that the results of these elections should not be honored by this body, it would confound basic human reason if the presidential results were to face objection while the congressional results of the same process escaped without public scrutiny.
While the Constitution and the 12th Amendment do not make Congress the judge of the states' presidential electors, it does require us to be the arbiters of the elections to this body. If the electors for the office of the president were not in question, neither would be the election certificates of my colleagues present here today.
Rep. Roy's objection was rejected 371-2.