Hour Assault on the Capitol-Documentary Response

24 Hour Assault on the Capitol-Documentary Response

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24 Hour Assault on the Capitol-Documentary Response

The key dates for the certification of elections as outlined in both the 12th and 20th amendments of the constitution are the third day of January of the year that follows the presidential elections. The Congress convenes once every year. The amendments note that the assembly begins at noon. The meeting shall only take place on 3rd January but can also take place on a different date if appointed by law.

The Congressional proceeding that rioters were trying to disrupt was the certification of the presidential elections held on 3rd November 2020, where President Joe Biden had won a majority of the votes. Debates were supposed to be held and the mob tried to disrupt the proceedings because they were convinced that the elections had been rigged. They believed that Donald Trump had emerged winner and they believed that he should remain president. The House of Representatives and Senate held a joint session to debate a motion objecting to counting ballots of the State of Arizona. The rioters hoped that Vice President Mike Pence would change the election results, but unfortunately, it was not with Pence’s authority to change the election outcome.

The role of Congress in counting electoral votes is a requirement of the constitution. Although members of Congress are excluded as electors, the constitutions required the Senate and House of Representatives to count electoral ballots. All electors in all states meet and choose a President and Vice President in the U.S. They convene and count the electoral votes in a joint session where the president-elect is declared President of the United States. In the event of a tie, the members of Congress are expected to choose a President and Vice President, respectively.

A decision by Vice President Pence not to count the electoral ballots in the 50 states would have plunged the country into a state of constitutional crises, chaos, and national insecurity. Had Pence nullified President Biden’s victory and proceeded to use his position as presiding officer to overrule votes, he would be violating the constitution leading to the highest degree of constitutional violation. The matter would have ended up at the Supreme Court, but it is highly unlikely that justices would decide the case seeing that the constitution leaves that responsibility exclusively to Congress. It would bring irresolvable constitutional problems, particularly to the three arms of government: the Executive, the Judiciary, and the Legislature. Ultimately the Supreme Court would have no issue but to take up the issue without any constitutional authority. It is improbable would agree to get caught up in the issue. The decision by the Supreme Court not to get involved would be the one that pushes the country into complete chaos, which would be difficult to recover from.

There are various efforts geared towards clarifying the laws of Electoral College ballots, making it possible for the January 6th mob riots at the Capitol. Trump exploited the ambiguities of the law’s language to incite violent protests amongst his supporters (Cathey, 2022). He tried to use a vaguely worded law from the 19th century to manipulate presidential election outcomes. One of the main efforts towards preventing what happened at the Capitol on 6th January from ever happening again is that a growing grouping of bipartisan lawmakers are backing the notion of changing the way Congress tallies presidential outcomes. To achieve this, they are pushing for the reforming of the Electoral Act of 1887. Trump tried to have Pence tamper with the election outcome and declared him president simply because he was in a position to do so, forming the law and passing legislation that prevents the Vice President from changing the law will take away ambiguities in the future.


Cathey, L. (2022). What is the Electoral Count Act and why does it present problems?. ABC News. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/electoral-count-act-present-problems/story?id=82396332.