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SCOTUS: Petition to Void November Election Moves Forward
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SCOTUS: Petition to Void November Election Moves Forward

A group of three women have filed a writ with the Supreme Court seeking to have the results of the November elections nullified.

SCOTUS election nullify

Screenshot of Supreme Court document posted to Twitter.

There’s a glimmer of hope for those of us who believe November’s presidential election was stolen by way of Russian hacking and think the election results should be voided. It’s not much of a glimmer, and the odds are nearly hands down that it’ll be extinguished after March 17, but for the time being we’ve got that glimmer.

What I’m talking about is a petition for a writ of mandamus, seeking to nullify the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, that was filed with the Supreme Court and has been proceeding through the channels. The whole thing has pretty much been under the radar, having been first reported by anything resembling a reliable source a week ago in a short article on the religious site Patheos. Evidently the case was heard by a Supreme Court justice and today was “DISTRIBUTED for Conference of March 17, 2017,” which is the next step as a case winds its way through SCOTUS’s labyrinth.

That’s likely to be as far as it gets. At the conference it’s highly unlikely that the case will even be discussed at all. Roy Liebman, writing on Councel Press, figures “at best, only 20-25% of the petitions distributed for a given conference are actually discussed during that conference and few, if any, of those discussed, are granted. Those which aren’t discussed, become automatically denied.”

The petition was filed by three Massachusetts women, Diane Blumstein, Nancy Goodman, and Donna Soodalter-Toman (now heroes of mine, even if this is a losing cause) who were able to raise the not unsubstantial amount of money needed to present a case to the Supreme Court.

According to Patheos:

“The main argument for the writ is that, per Article IV § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, it is the job of the federal government to keep U.S. territory safe from foreign invasion. The Constitution stipulates, ‘The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion.’ The petition cites evidence of such an invasion, namely the Russian hacking, and asks that the entire 2016 election be nullified, all the way back to the primaries, on the grounds that cyber-territory in the U.S. was invaded with the intention of altering the results of our Presidential election. The petitioners seek an entirely new election.

“Per Title 28 of the U.S. Code § 1251, SCOTUS has “original jurisdiction” over cases like this due to the involvement of a foreign state. There is no remedy for the foreign cyber-invasion, they argue, other than complete nullification.”

Even in the unlikely event that the case gets a hearing before the entire court, it’s unlikely the plaintiffs will prevail. Although it’s true, and perhaps provable through statistics, that the hacked and leaked emails changed enough voters’ minds to shift the outcome from Clinton to Trump, the court would probably not take that into consideration.

Any decision would have to depend on the vote count itself, and it seems unlikely that credible proof could be offered to indicate the results could be questioned based on Russian interference.

Until March 17, however, we can hope, keep our fingers crossed and hold our tongues just right.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall began her journalism career in 1972 writing for the "underground" newspaper the Los Angeles Free Press. From 1988 until 2005 she covered politics for various newspapers in the Greensboro, North Carolina area.

2 comments to SCOTUS: Petition to Void November Election Moves Forward

  • Barbara Gotsopoulos

    What if… Just what if all the Supreme Court Justices received a large number of respectful phone calls, emails and post cards all requesting them, very politely to please move this case forward. Could it happen?

  • Christine Hall

    @Barbara Gotsopoulos I don’t think that Supreme Court justices are swayed much by public pressure. A possible benefit might be to make sure that the petition is at least discussed at the conference. Whether the court decides to put this on the docket probably depends on the court feeling the need to address this issue in a legal sense, which I doubt they’ll want to do.

    Our best hope at this point probably come from law enforcement and whether or not they’re actively investigating the Trump administration for criminal acts. I imagine the FBI is at least looking into some things, but whether they find enough to compel them to act is anyone’s guess, I’m afraid.