Congress Elects President If No Electoral College Winner
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Mr. BROOKS of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, this is the second in the series of House floor speeches by me on the recent Presidential elections.
Previously, I covered constitutional and Federal statutory law mandating that Congress--not the Supreme Court--decides whether to accept or reject States' electoral college vote submissions.
Today's remarks focus on who decides a Presidential election if no candidate receives an electoral college majority vote because of a tie, because multiple candidates split the electoral college vote, or because Congress rejected State electoral college votes.
Per the United States Constitution's 12th Amendment, Congress--not the Supreme Court--elects the next President and Vice President of the United States if no candidate wins an electoral college vote majority. Congress' decision is final, determinative, and nonreviewable.
The 12th Amendment states that if no candidate has a majority of the electoral college vote, then, from the three highest vote-getters for President, ``the House of Representatives shall choose immediately by ballot the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each State having one vote . . . and a majority of all of the States shall be necessary to a choice.''
As an aside, the 12th Amendment requires the Senate to elect the Vice President. There is a twist in the House vote for President. A majority of Congressmen does not elect the President. Rather, the House votes by State delegations to elect the next President of the United States.
America has 50 States. After the 2020 elections, 26 State delegations have a Republican majority. Twenty States have a Democrat majority. The remaining State delegations are tied 50/50, with Iowa undecided pending an uncalled election.
Hence, if Congress rejects electoral college votes from States with election processes that are so badly flawed as to be unreliable and unworthy of acceptance, House Republicans control the election of the next President of the United States.
Let me repeat that for emphasis. House Republicans control the election of the next President of the United States.
For emphasis, the 12th Amendment has, on occasion, resulted in Congress electing the next President of the United States.
For example, in 1824, Andrew Jackson led the electoral college with 99 votes, to 85 votes for John Quincy Adams, to 41 votes for William Crawford, to 37 votes for House Speaker Henry Clay. The House elected second place finisher John Quincy Adams President of the United States over first place finisher Andrew Jackson, prompting Andrew Jackson to famously declare, ``The Judas of the West has closed the contract and will receive the 30 pieces of silver . . . Was there ever witnessed such a bare faced corruption in any country before?''
Another example is the 1876 election, wherein Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote and amassed 184 electoral college votes, one shy of Ohio Republican Rutherford B. Hayes' 185 electoral college votes.
Louisiana's, Florida's, and South Carolina's electoral college votes were disputed because it strained credibility to believe these States voted Republican while still suffering from the destructive effects of a Republican-led invasion during the Civil War. Congress appointed a 15-member commission to study the matter, which split on party lines: eight Republicans for Hayes, seven Democrats for Tilden.
Congress then elected Hayes President of the United States in a deal that gave Louisiana's, Florida's, and South Carolina's disputed electoral college votes to Hayes in exchange for removing occupying Union troops from the South and ending reconstruction.
In sum, the history and law are clear: Congress, not the Supreme Court, determines who wins or loses Presidential elections.
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