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

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Myopia Of The Business News

Listening to the business news is a bit like eavesdropping on the radio transmissions from space aliens. There is no discernible connection between the concerns of the captains of these space ships – the bank economists and the finance house spokesmen – and the concerns of ordinary listeners back on Planet Earth. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Clinton, Sanders, Trump And Cruz

Come November, the world will have a new US president-elect and the least unlikely winner still looks to be Hillary Clinton. Right now though, the polls are showing a rocky stretch ahead for her in the immediate future. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Sean Penn And El Chapo - Vanity, Hollywood And Reportage

Leaving aside Sean Penn’s personal history with drug use, let alone alleged efforts to get a slice of celebrity in portraying a drug lord, the furore surrounding his interview with El Chapo is instructive in a few respects. One is worth noting: the blind rage it has provoked with some US political figures and advocates who show how utterly lacking in understanding they are of their own liberal market system... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Podemos, And Spain’s Election Stalemate

By hard grassroots effort, it convincingly rejected the fragmented, individualising forces that had shaped political life for the past few decades – instead, it organized its supporters on the basis of their common, communal experience via collective decision-making aimed at rolling back (a) the austerity-driven cutbacks in public services and (b) the home evictions of those unable to meet their mortgage payments. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Merkel, Refugees And The Cologne Attacks

Huge pressure was already on Angela Merkel’s shoulders prior to the New Year celebrations. When it came in its waves of chaos on the eve, the security services in Cologne were found wanting. The police document from Cologne, leaked to Der Spiegel, speaks of chaos and lack of control. More>>

NZ Media In 2015: ‘Digital First’ Strategies Put Journalists Last

Journalism in New Zealand is threatened by the constant culling of editorial jobs and current affairs programmes… Additionally, journalists investigating issues which are in public interest have become under scrutiny as seen most clearly in the cases of Nicky Hager and Heather Du-Plessis Allen. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news