Pelosi claims power to remove Congress members

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appearing on ABC News on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 (Video screenshot)

Nancy Pelosi claims that as House speaker, she has the authority to determine who can be seated in the elected body.

Her claim arose regarding Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, whose six-vote victory was certified by Iowa after a recount.

In January, Pelosi provisionally seated Miller-Meeks when the full House was sworn in. When she was asked two weeks ago by a reporter if she might remove Miller-Meeks and seat her Democratic opponent, Rita Hart, Pelosi said “there could be a scenario to that extent.”

Hart didn’t challenge the election result in Iowa courts but instead went to the leadership of the House asking them to throw out Miller-Meeks.

At her weekly press conference Thursday, Pelosi tried to justify her effort.

“If I wanted to be unfair, I wouldn’t have seated the Republican from Iowa, because that was my right on the opening day. I would have just said, ‘You’re not seated,’ and that would have been my right, as speaker, to do,” she said.

However, political science professor Eddie Zipperer says Pelosi needs to reread Supreme Court precedent, PJ Media reported.

“SCOTUS says a seat cannot be denied to a duly elected Rep who meets the constitutional qualifications,” he said.

While the Constitution gives to Congress the authority to be “the judge of the … qualifications of its own members,” it also requires a two-thirds majority vote to expel a member.

PJ Media noted that under the Federal Contested Elections Act, the House Administration Committee “may recommend, and the House may approve by a simple majority vote, a decision affirming the right of the contestee to the seat, may seat the contestant, or find that neither party is entitled to be finally seated and declare a vacancy.”

The law does give the House speaker authority to unilaterally seat or unseat a duly elected member of Congress.

Some political analysts have noted the irony of the Democrats seeking to overturn a state-certified election after demonizing President Trump and anyone who challenges the 2020 presidential vote.

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