Washington Post Columnist Calls For Expulsion Of Members Who Challenged Electoral Votes

Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin is calling for the expulsion of Republican members for challenging the electoral votes this week as “sedition.”  From the outset, I opposed this challenge as unfounded.  However, think about this demand (which has been raised by others).  Rubin wants to expel members who joined challenges allowed under a federal law (on the very same grounds that Democrats have made in past elections). Indeed, she declares “Every Republican bears a responsibility for what happened on Wednesday, whether or not they participated in a seditious attempt to overthrow our democracy.” So Republicans who opposed the challenge and denounced the violence should still be punished or blamed?

Moreover, Rubin objects to how these members used “disinformation” to incite violence but proceeds to misrepresent both the law and the record. For example, she singles out figures like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)  who stated previously that he did not believe that Vice President Michael Pence had the authority to simply “send back” such electoral votes.

Rubin states these members “knew the objections were baseless. They saw the violent results triggered by disinformation, yet they doubled down on Republicans’ sedition.”  As is often the case in her columns, Rubin seems to reconstruct reality to fit her preferred conclusion. She accuses these members of “inciting” rioters by making the very same challenge brought by Democrats in past elections involving Republican presidents. She does not call for those Democratic members to be expelled.

In January 2005, Boxer joined former Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones to challenge George W. Bush’s victory over Democratic challenger John Kerry in the state of Ohio. I was working for CBS in that election and shared concerns over the voting irregularities. At the time, Boxer argued that Republicans had engaged in voter suppression that contributed to Bush’s victory.  The media and Democratic leadership was highly supportive. Indeed, many who are condemning the challenge today heaped praise on Boxer in 2004. There was no hue and cry in the media over anti-democratic measures and refusing to respect the election results. For example, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the current challenge an assault on democracy but, in the 2004 election challenge, she praised Boxer’s challenge as “witnessing Democracy at work. This isn’t as some of our Republican colleagues have referred to it, sadly, as frivolous. This debate is fundamental to our democracy.”

Notably, many Democrats like Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., raised analogous complaints over voting systems and insisted that “as Americans, we should all be troubled by reports of voting problems in many parts of the country.” Sen. Dick Durbin has also denounced the challenge this year but took to the Senate floor to praise Boxer in 2005.  He declared “Some may criticize our colleague from California for bringing us here for this brief debate. I thank her for doing that because it gives members an opportunity once again on a bipartisan basis to look at a challenge that we face not just in the last election in one State but in many States.”

Moreover, it is not “sedition” to use a federal law allowing for such challenges.  Sedition is an attempt to overthrow the rule of law.  Indeed, these members stated that they wanted to highlight the voting irregularities just as Boxer did in 2004. The use of such a law is not an invitation to riot. Moreover, when liberal groups rioted at the Trump inauguration, Rubin did not blame Democratic members refusing to recognize Trump as the legitimate president.

During Trump’s speech, I was tweeting out objections to his statements and defending those he was attacking. I have denounced the speech as reckless and wrong.  However, the effort to weaponize this incident against Republican members is unfair.

What is most chilling is Rubin’s absurd standard proposed for the expulsion of members:

Each chamber can enact a simple rule: “No member shall retain a seat if he or she endeavors to overthrow the results of an election, file frivolous lawsuits seeking to do the same or seek to pressure any election official to change the results of an election.”

Under that standard, any member who filed a lawsuit deemed “frivolous” by Rubin or others could be expelled. Likewise, any challenge to electoral votes under the Electoral Count Act is clearly viewed by Rubin to be sedition . . . unless you are a Democrat. So we have seen a slew of meritless lawsuits over the last four years from Democratic members. The lawsuits were dismissed. Would they also be expelled?  Rubin is calling for a federal law that would allow an entirely subjective standard for the expulsion of members.

Fortunately, the Washington Post cannot rewrite the Constitution for allow for such mob rule.  What Rubin is suggesting would raise serious constitutional problems as a majority party punishes members for taking positions or filing cases that it deems “frivolous” or seditious.

For full disclosure, I clashed with Rubin over her personally attacking me for a theory that I did not agree with in a column that I did not write. I also challenged her on an equally bizarre column where she wrote about my impeachment testimony with a clearly false account of a “concession” pulled out of me by counsel Norm Essen, the very same source that she used in a later column that misrepresented the holding in an appellate case involving Trump. That false account was never corrected the Washington Post.

The reason that columns like this are being printed is that they are largely protected from contradiction in most of the mainstream media. Indeed, in siloed media like the Washington Post, readers are largely protected from opposing views.  Rubin can misrepresent an actual holding and not be subject to a correction.  This proposed expulsion standard is an attack on free speech and representational rights. Yet, it is being applauded by those who want to use this riot to cleanse Congress and cancel opposing viewpoints.

227 thoughts on “Washington Post Columnist Calls For Expulsion Of Members Who Challenged Electoral Votes”

  1. Rubin is just going through yet another manic episode. Discombobulated Jane has no life: spends all her time in pajamas,
    tweeting insults against Trump and Republicans or writing inane columns to please Jeff Bezos’ minions at WaPo. She is a Fascist
    through and through, a sick minded individual who has no respect for the American people, our Nation and our constitutional
    rights. She’s got unresolved issues only a shrink can help her with, starting with accepting what she can’t change, like
    being the spitting image of Beverly Hillbillies’ Ms. Jane Hathaway, lmao!

  2. Jonathan: I don’t agree with Jennifer Rubin that every Republican should be held responsible for Trump’s attempted putsch on Wednesday. Senator Mitt Romney and a few other Republicans bravely stood up to Trump and the other Republican seditionists. But Senators like Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz should be condemned and at least censored for Trump’s failed coup d’etat. In particular Hawley stands out as one of the leaders of the coup. But you seem to want to downplay Hawley’s role. In his Fox interview Hawley did concede that VP Pence had no authority to de-certify the election results. But he went on to say: “I don’t think the vice president actually counts under the law. He’s sort of just there. This is really on Congress”. The key sentence is “This is really on Congress”. Hawley claims falsely that Congress could set aside some states’ Electoral College votes. In fact, last month Hawley was a lead sponsor of a Missouri House resolution urging Congress to reject the votes in certain states like Pennsylvania. As a former professor of constitutional law Hawley should know a Senator from Missouri has no Constitutional power to determine how elections are conducted in other states nor to reject votes they don’t like. But bizarrely you seem to endorse Hawley’s position.

    Hawley was not just a bystander on Wednesday. He was actually one of the instigators of the riot that took place inside the Capitol building. There is a photo of Hawley walking into the Capitol building cheering on the Trump rioters with thumbs up and giving a fist pump. That one photo shows everything you need to know about where Hawley stood. He stood with the insurrectionists. Hawley has received a lot of blowback from his actions on Wednesday back home. The editorial board of the Kansas City Star said Hawley has “blood on his hands”. Former Missouri Senator John Danforth, who mentored Hawley and encouraged him to run for the Senate, said: “Supporting Josh Hawley…was the worst decision I’ve ever made in my life”. It has gotten so bad for Hawley back home that former large campaign donors are deserting him. The student bar association at the University of Missouri school of law has called on Hawley to resign. Adding insult to injury Simon & Schuster has canceled the publication of Hawley’s new book.

    I agree that “Sedition is an attempt to overthrow the rule of law”. That’s what happened on Wednesday The seditionists were not only the rabble that broke into the Capitol but the instigators–Trump, Giuliani and Republicans like Hawley. Giuliani should be prosecuted and disbarred. Hawley should resign or be censored. Trump should be impeached again and convicted by the new Senate so that he can never run for public office again and further endanger our Democracy. It’s a sad commentary that as one who is big on the “rule of law” you are unwilling to publicly call for these measures to preserve our constitutional order.

  3. Jennifer Rubin is a complete nutcase who should be institutionalized. It’s not worth the time to talk about her.

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