Multiple liberal legal commentators who praised Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel of Michigan for indicting 16 Republicans for attempting to file false electoral votes in the 2020 election had called for members of the Electoral College to vote against Donald Trump in 2016, according to a review of their tweets.
Nessel announced the indictment on Tuesday after the Department of Justice did not prosecute the individuals, including Michigan Republican Party co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, for allegedly signing a false certificate of electoral votes, challenging the state’s valid electoral votes for then-candidate Joe Biden. However, many of the legal commentators who praised Nessel’s decision had called on electoral college members in states that Trump won in 2016 to vote for a candidate other than him.
“Michigan, My Michigan — one truly great State! Finally an Attorney General worthy of her title. Kudos and props to Michigan AG Dana Nessel, a true public servant,” tweeted Laurence Tribe, a University Professor emeritus of Harvard Law School. Tribe, in 2016, had tweeted that “All it will take is just 12% — a bit over 1 in 10 — of the 306 Trump Electors to vote against a walking, talking impeachable offense,” appearing to encourage such a vote.
Liberal activists like Chris Hayes, Norm Eisen, Laurence Tribe, and George Takei urged electors to vote against President-elect Donald Trump in 2016. pic.twitter.com/lSXOw6dB3f
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) July 19, 2023
Norman Eisen, a CNN legal analyst and former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic in the Obama administration, said that “[w]e forecast that this was coming months ago, & now accountability is here & everywhere,” in a tweet following the announcement. In 2016, Eisen wrote that “electors should not — CANNOT — choose [a] man who will violate oath,” referring to Trump.
Several states have laws against “faithless electors” who vote for a candidate for president other than the one to whom they are pledged. In 33 states, faithless voting by electors is prohibited, with 14 states voiding such votes, while Oklahoma and North Carolina impose penalties on electors themselves for such votes, according to Fair Vote. In other states, faithless electoral votes may be counted, though California criminalizes faithless voting with a three-year term of imprisonment, according to the state’s elections code.
In the 2016 election, 10 members of the electoral college eventually voted faithlessly, the first time it occurred since 1808. Two Trump electors voted for former Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, while several electors for Hillary Clinton voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, with one vote going to Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American activist in Washington State.
In response to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation, Tribe wrote that, between his two positions, “[t]here’s no contradiction whatsoever … The faithless elector issue has nothing whatsoever to do with the duty not to lie under oath about having been chosen as an elector — or with the nonexistent right to file a false and fraudulent claim to have met in the State’s Capitol to cast one’s electoral vote.”
Eisen did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
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