Civil Discourse Now

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Voters have standing to challenge an illegal election where their votes were not counted

   Thursday we outlined review of assertions that litigation to challenge the legitimacy of Trump’s Presidency is the same as birther litigation as to President Obama.  On Friday we examined differences between the (one) reason upon which birther cases were based with the (multiple) reasons presented by advocates for Trump removal. 
   Yesterday’s blog showed the birthers’ lacked facts to their claim and the abundance of facts that support the Trump removal effort. Most of the rest of the World realizes Russia stole the 2016 United States election. 
   Next we begin to explore reasons courts rejected birther cases.
   One reason is based on “standing,” a “party’s right to make a legal claim or seek judicial enforcement of a duty or right.” 
   Pat is a passenger in a Corvair that is lawfully stopped for a stop sign. Chris is the driver of a Yugo that rear-ends the Corvair. Pat is injured as a result of the collision. Pat would have standing to sue Chris for damages.  Fran, who is across the street in a store and sees the collision, would not have standing to sue Chris.
   Article III of the Constitution requires, as an irreducible minimum, that a plaintiff allege: (1) an injury that is (2) fairly traceable to the defendant’s or defendants’ alleged conduct and that is (3) likely to be redressed by the requested relief.  Allen v Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984).
   The “birther” lawsuits challenged the legitimacy of President Obama’s occupancy of the Oval Office because, those cases alleged, President Obama was not born in the USA.  In one birther case, Berg v Obama, 586 F.3d 234 (3rd Cir 2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Judicial Circuit held the generalized harm of the invalidity as claimed was not the particularized sort of harm that gives a party standing.
    One might infer that only a candidate who lost in the general election in which the margin of victory was obtained illegally would have standing to challenge that election in our courts.
   Our Federal courts recognize voters’ standing to sue to protect the right to vote.  Voters’ interests are “independent” of the interests of candidates, and failure of a candidate to pursue relief is not material to determining whether voters for that candidate have “standing” to contest how an election was conducted. Tarpley v. Salerno, 803 F.2d 57, 59-60 (2nd Cir. 1986).  Voters have standing to challenge the lawfulness of an election.  Diamond v. Charles, 476 U.S. 54, 66-67, (1986).
   Voters in an illegal election have a right to relief even if they did not vote for the losing candidate. The right to participate in the choice of representatives includes the right to cast a ballot and to have it counted at the general election, whether for the successful candidate or not.“The Constitution of the United States protects the right of all qualified citizens to vote, in state as well as in federal elections. A consistent line of decisions by this Court in cases involving attempts to deny or restrict the right of suffrage has made this indelibly clear. It has been repeatedly recognized that all qualified voters have a constitutionally recognized protected right to vote.  Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S.533, 554, 84 S.Ct. 1362, 1377 (1964)...”

   Voters in 2016, as reports indicate, lost their right to vote because, among other reasons, software was altered.
   If this seems a repetition, this blog has addressed “standing” previously.
   In the next blog we shall look at “justiciability.”

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