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 West’s Existential Crisis About What To Do With Putin, And The Islamic State

Say one thing for Russian President Vladimir Putin. At least he’s given NATO a purpose in life. Right now, that consists of being something that Barack Obama and David Cameron can hide behind, point at Putin, and say : “Go get him, tiger.” Just what NATO is supposed to do about Putin’s armed advance into eastern Ukraine is less than clear. But there is a lot of “steely determination” around in high places. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The US Foreign Policy Somersaults Over Syria And Iran

Amidst the day-to-day reports about the military advances of the Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, one remarkable aspect of this war has barely been mentioned. More>>

ALSO:

Daphne Lawless: The Whale Oil Leaks: Anti-Politics From Above

As we go to press, the election campaign has been turned upside down by a new book by investigative journalist Nicky Hager. Dirty Politics is based mainly on a leak of 2 gigabytes of emails and Facebook messages from “Whale Oil”, the vicious ... More>>

ALSO:

Branko Marcetic: When John Key Was Concerned About Dirty Politics

If Nicky Hager needs some support in the midst of a whirlwind of government criticism for his allegations of “dirty tricks” by the National Party, he may find one unlikely ally – John Key, six years ago. More>>

Jim Miles: Israeli War Crimes In Gaza

Israel reveals its true colours and true aspirations every time it attacks Gaza (or any other self-perceived enemy) as being the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, even to the degree - as the references above indicate - to the act of genocide. More>>

David Swanson: Top 9 Reasons To Stop Bombing Iraq

1. It's not a rescue mission. The U.S. personnel could be evacuated without the 500-pound bombs. The persecuted minorities could be supplied, moved, or their enemy dissuaded, or all three, without the 500-pound bombs or the hundreds of 'advisors' (trained ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Comedian’s Death: Robin Williams And The Virtues Of Suicide

The Grim Reaper never runs out of converts. Put another way, death never gets his full due. Comedians do not figure well in this – they are particularly attractive targets in the business of death. More>>

Suzan Mazur: "Oomph" & Origin Of Life At Hydrothermal Vents

The notion that life originated in hydrothermal vents was for a long time a sleepy area of scientific inquiry because the vents first found, known as 'black smokers,' were way too hot and acidic. But in 1989, Michael Russell, a British geochemist who ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news