Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Appeal Filed in Bilbray Election Challenge

Election Nullification American Style:
Appeal Filed in Bilbray Election Challenge:

Speaker Hastert’s Swearing In At Issue


Michael Collins
Special for
“Scoop” Independent News
Washington, DC

Attorneys Paul Lehto and Kenneth Simpkins just entered an appeal to a California Superior Court decision that prematurely ended an election contest in California’s 50th Congressional District. Just seven days after the election, Speaker Dennis Hastert swore in Brian Bilbray on the House Floor on June 13, 2006. Hastert claimed that Bilbray was the rightful winner of the close election based on a communication he received from the office of California’s Republican Secretary of State, Bruce McPherson.

At the time of Hastert’s induction there were charges of major election problems and questions raised about the security of voting equipment. In addition, the election had not yet been “certified” by the Registrar of San Diego County. Certification did not take place until the end of June. Hastert claimed, via Bilbray's legal filings, that Bilbray was the rightful winner of the close election and that state courts had no power whatsoever to even look into the matter.

Appeal Filing pdf here or here .

Citizens Barbara Gail Jacobson and Lillian Ritt sued now Congressman Brian P. Bilbray and San Diego Registrar Mikel Haas to achieve a recount and close examination of the election. The case centered on secret vote counting by the Registrar, the dispersal of voting machines to the homes of poll workers well in advance of the election (and without supervision), and irregularities like failure to allocate 50% of the ballots cast to appropriate precincts. Key Constitutional issues were raised concerning the right of states and localities to conduct and judge elections. The letter that the Speaker apparently relied on indicated that there were 68,500 uncounted ballots, and that certification would have to be transmitted later "as required by law."

Judge Yuri Hoffman dismissed the case after hearing several days of evidence and argument. He cited the ultimate authority the U.S. House of Representatives to rule on the selection of its own members. Thus, Hoffman reasoned, when Speaker Hastert swore in Bilbray just seven days after the election amidst intense controversy, that induction ended any further appeal of the election outcome by state and local officials. Attorney Lehto was quick to note at the time, “The election nullification is out in the open, it is intentional, it is signed by their lawyers, and it can't be denied.” One activist pondered, “What if they’d found pictures of election workers stuffing the ballot boxes or manually changing totals after Hastert’s little ceremony?”

Election law attorney Paul R. Lehto commented:

This concerns the constitutionality of House Speaker Dennis Hastert's action to swear in Republican Brian Bilbray to Congress only 7 days after the election. A minimum of 12,500 ballots were still uncounted, the race was reported as only approximately 4,000 votes apart, and certification would not take place for more than two weeks. Despite these facts, the defendants argued that this premature swearing in deprived the state courts and everyone else of all power or jurisdiction to look into the election, an "exclusive jurisdiction" instead vesting in the House of Representatives alone.

This story was covered extensively by “Scoop” Independent News in August. The three part series included the following articles by Michael Collins.

This story is a chronicle of recent political corruption in the House of Representatives. The special election between Busby and Bilbray resulted from the resignation of convicted criminal Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the former representative from the 50th district. The swearing in of Cunningham’s replacement, Bilbray, created more controversy due to the seeming attempt to avoid any real challenge to the election. The current legal action arises at a time when Speaker Dennis Hastert is accused of neglecting the safety of Congressional Pages while providing a safe harbor for Florida Rep. Mark Foley. Foley is accused of sending Pages (who are minors) sexually suggestive emails of a homoerotic nature.

The California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division one is expected to rule soon on the appeal. Upholding the decision by Judge Yuri Hoffman will represent the surrender of any real local or state authority over House elections to the Speaker’s authority. Reversal will create a state – federal challenge over election authority. In either case, the outcome will be an important but not final juncture in this ongoing story of corruption, elections, and the politicians who, from time to time, nullify that which they do not accept.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

New HiveMind Project: What Should We Do About Sugar?

While most people agree that increased sugar consumption is a major cause of too many New Zealanders being overweight and obese, what we should do about this remains a matter of debate and argument. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Vladimir Putin’s Wonderful, Fabulous, Very Good Year

Safe to say that no-one, but no-one has had a better 2016 than Vladimir Putin. What an annus mirabilis it has been for him. Somehow, Russia got away with directly interfering in the US election process, such that a friendly oligarch is about to take up residence in the White House, rather than a genuine rival. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On The Media Normalisation Of Trump

We all supposedly agree that the media is going to hell in a tabloid handbasket, but the trends to the contrary can be a bit harder to spot. In his 1970s book The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe had mocked the way the media instinctively acts as what he called The Victorian Gentleman. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: The Reality Of Fake News

Fake news as reality; the inability to navigate the waters in which it swims; a weakness in succumbing to material best treated with a huge pinch of salt. That, we are told, is the new condition of the global information environment. More>>

Alastair Thompson: Helen Kelly And The Compassionless People
I wasn't a close friend of Helen Kelly's. But her passing has moved me to tears more than once in the past two weeks. I feel honoured to be one of the many who worked with her and was helped by her. More>>

Postnatal Depression: 'The Thief That Steals Motherhood' - Alison McCulloch

Post-natal depression is a sly and cruel illness, described by one expert as ‘the thief that steals motherhood’, it creeps up on its victims, hiding behind the stress and exhaustion of being a new parent, catching many women unaware and unprepared. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On News From The US Election Eve

Here’s a somewhat scary headline from October 30 on Nate Silver’s 538 site, which summed up the statistical factors in play at that point: “The Cubs Have A Smaller Chance Of Winning Than Trump Does” More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news