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Message From the Senate

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 6, 2021
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. SCANLON. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to the objection.


Ms. SCANLON. Madam Speaker, I started this day disheartened that our colleagues were going to drag us through this cynical political charade of objecting to duly certified electoral college votes, but I was ready and eager to defend Pennsylvania's elections and the will of Pennsylvania's voters.

Never did I expect to be answering calls from family and friends concerned for my safety or to have to barricade myself in an office. But most important of all, never did I expect to see our Capitol overrun by armed insurrectionists intent on disrupting our government at the urging of the President.

What happened here today has made me heart-sick for our country, but it only strengthens my resolve to uphold the rule of law and to protect the decision of Pennsylvania's voters.

Earlier this week, we raised our hands and swore an oath to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. But, today, those who are blocking the counting of electors from Pennsylvania are showing that their allegiance lies not to the Constitution or to their constituents, and many would argue not even to the Republican Party, but to their own political fortunes and the outgoing President.

Pennsylvania's voters, not Members of Congress, are tasked with choosing Pennsylvania's Presidential electors, and particularly not congressmen from other States. The people have spoken, and Pennsylvania certified our electors. We must respect our oath here by rejecting this unfounded objection to Pennsylvania's electoral votes, and not substitute Congress' judgment for that of the people of Pennsylvania.

Legal challenges to elections are serious matters, and that is why there is a place to consider those challenges: In courtrooms before impartial judges.

And Pennsylvania's legal process has worked. The pseudo-legal arguments that are being raised by the objectors here today are not new. Over the past 2 months, the President and his allies have filed more than 20 lawsuits to challenge the Pennsylvania election. Those challenges have been rejected in Federal courts, State courts, appellate courts, and the United States Supreme Court. Challenges have been rejected by judges who are registered Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and who have been appointed by Democratic and Republican Presidents.

And why did they lose all those cases?

As Third Circuit Judge Bibas, a Trump appointee, wrote, ``Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.''

What the Court said points to an important distinction about when and how claims of election misconduct are made. It is easy to make wild claims of election fraud on cable television or Twitter, but those claims are not facts. And while there may be no immediate consequences for misleading the public with such statements, there is certainly a penalty for misleading the courts.

A lawyer faces fines, jail, and loss of his or her license for making frivolous or false claims. The lawyers for the Trump campaign never alleged widespread fraud or illegal voting had impacted Pennsylvania's elections because those claims are false.

When our colleagues indulge in this political theatre and endorse fringe conspiracy theories, they may think there are no consequences because they know that this time the majorities of the House and Senate will overrule them. But as the entire world saw today, their baseless claims of election fraud do have consequences. They undermine faith and respect for our elections and our government. They chip away at the foundation of our constitutional Republic and they take a sledgehammer to the peaceful transfer of power. It is our job to respect the rule of law and reject this political charade.

Finally, I want to offer my deepest respect to our Republican colleagues in both the House and the Senate who have withstood intense political pressure, and today honor their oath in the rule of law by rejecting these unfounded objections.