“May you live in interesting times and People in High Places know your name.”
Ancient Chinese Curse
After listening to the Oral arguments before SCOTUS last week and listening to more legal scholars and talking heads than I care to remember I’d like to share my take away from “Trump vs. Anderson”. First off I want to make clear that I feel that this is going to be both a critically and historically important case. A case that will be thought in both history classes and in law classes in times to come. Also I am sure ever Justice on the Court believes this too. This is a ground breaking case and the only questions we have to face is who’s ground gets broken and what happens next.
My first take is I agree with the vast majority of the Scholars and talking heads, SCOTUS is going to over turn the case. I don’t have a clue on just how the will reason this nor what the vote is going to be. An I’m not brave enough to make a guess either. I also feel that no mater how they rule the Justices are in for a long hard few of years ahead. What I’m going to do here is talk about just one question facing them. If they rule such that no state can prevent a person from being on the ballot(s) of that state that does not meet the qualifications for being President or Vice President then just who and when are the requirements going to be inforced?
First question: Can the Congress pass a law on who can be on their ballot(s) (Either Primary or General). How can this law be constitutional when the Constitution give the several States sole rights on how their Presidential Electors are selected? If it is constitutional who actually enforces the Law, which agency of the Federal Government has the job (or who would want it)?
Second question: If the States do have the right to control the selection of their Presidential Electors can the State(s) at the time the electors gather at the appropriate designated place can the State(s) legislature disqualify all votes for the candidate who fails to met the qualifications? If they can, then who do they select as electors? Or do they just not send any electors at all?
Third question: If the several States do select and send electors for a person who does not met the qualifications for President/Vice President and accept their votes does the Congress have the right and/or duty to reject those votes when the votes are counted? Sub question, is the vote only not counted for the person who does not qualify? Would this not lead to the situation where we get the President disqualified and the Vice President who is qualified? Does he/she automation move up to the Presidency ?
Fourth question: If we get to the point where a person who fails to met the qualifications to be President is about to be sworn in what does the Chef Justice do? Does he/she actually administer the oath of Office?
Fifth question: If a person who does not met the qualifications for President is swarm in would he/she not be libel for immediate Impeachment?
See the problem? No matter what SCOTUS has some very interesting times a head and many many people in high places know all their names.
Will wonders never cease? I woke up in time to listen to the live broadcast of the SCOTUS hearing on the Colorado case removing Donald J. Trump from the primary ballot. I got a lot of questions but I’m not going to go into them now as I’m sure most if not all will be both brought up by the “Talking Heads” in the days to come and also addressed by the courts ruling. No, what I’m going to deal with a question that has not even been addressed out loud yet. That question is:
“If the court rules that the several states can not enforce the qualifications to hold office before a person is elected when and who does enforce them?” Let me set up the hypothetical for you here:
A person who will not be 35 at the time of being sworn in, when I who says he/she can not be sworn in? Is it done when the electors of the several states are approved by the state legislatures? Is it done when the elector collage votes are counted by Congress? Or is it when he/she steps up to take their oath of office (and who does this)? See the problem?
Now it is possible for the Court to say that this is the responsibility of the Congress. But what do we do if the Congress does not act. The current House of Representatives does not fill me with confidence. What does congress do if it gets conflicting Elector ballots? If he/she is not allowed to take office, who does? The Vice President? The Speaker of the House? Who?
See the problem, no mater what the Court does we are in for some very hard times, some much much harder than others. Only time and the Court will tell.
I was 17 back in 1968, one of the most important Presidential elections I ever voted in. No I didn’t cheat. My parents told my older brother , Al, and me that they would cast the vote for president we wanted. Papa for Al and Momma for me. This was because both of us were facing the draft and going off to the Vietnam War. I had been aware of presidential elections since 1964 (LBJ vs. Goldwater) but what the parties and candidates stood for really didn’t sink in. 1968 was totally different. For many reasons.
I shan’t go into the politics as you can find way too many books, blogs, podcasts, etc on that era. I’m going to talk about myself, personally. First of I was NOT a flower child nor hippie. I was quite emphatic in my being a radical “Middle of the Bird” (see Rowan & Martin Laugh-In). Also, like now, I have total intolerance of hypocrisy. I came by this both naturally and from the 60’s culture. The easiest and quickest way to get me to reject your idea is to appear to be hypocritical.
For example: If you want to have a “Double Standard” where you get to have or do something you do not want others to have or do I will accept the idea if you will just admit you want a double standard and not say that double standards are bad. The problem I have finally learn is that getting a double standard and saying you don’t like double standards is an application of the double standard. I couldn’t win. I challenge you to find a single ‘hypocrite’ who will admit to hypocrisy.
For all you out there who the 1960’s is just a decade in your history books, the 1960’s was a time where the teenagers of the decade took great joy in calling there elders “Hypocrites” in loud pear-shaped tones. While I think I rarely said this to my parents, I hope I didn’t, I did do it in school, clubs, and shouting at the TV. Please note that changing your mind was all too often taken as hypocrisy back then and I had a long hard road learning to tell the difference.
With time, age and a heart attack I think I’ve changed some. I still hold hypocrisy in great disdain but I hope I do not call it out so self righteously as my 18 year old self did. An if you find some of my ideas odd or dated please just remember where I came from.