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I wrote this article a few weeks ago. I submitted it to two major newspapers as an opinion piece. The editors at both newspapers said there were no cases in the judicial pipeline, and thus my proposal was impossible. But then on Monday February 22, the Supreme Court made a decision about a Trump challenge to the Pennsylvania balloting, rejecting it with a single sentence. That might have been the chance. Maybe there is another futile legal challenge that would make this plea possible. I offer it to you because I think it makes sense even if the op-ed editors don’t.
The United States is split almost down the middle, as the last election demonstrated. Families and friends are hopelessly divided, and some people just can’t discuss politics anymore for fear of losing touch with people they care about. Some people blame Donald Trump, some blame Newt Gingrich, some trace the fissures back even farther in time.
Whenever it started, the issue today is how we are able to function as a nation when we can’t even agree on basic facts. The political polarization seems likely to last a long time, but at the very least we could heal some of the divisions by establishing one basic fact: Who won the last election. According to polls, most Republicans have been persuaded by former President Trump that the election was stolen from him. To this day, Trump continues to insist he won the election.
There is only one tribunal where this issue of fact can be resolved to the satisfaction of almost all Americans, and that is the United States Supreme Court. The current composition of the Supreme Court heavily favors Republicans. Six of its nine members were appointed by Republican presidents: Chief Justice John Roberts (appointed by President George W. Bush); Justice Clarence Thomas (appointed by President George H.W. Bush); Justice Stephen Breyer (appointed by President Bill Clinton); Justice Samuel Alito (appointed by President George W. Bush); Justice Sonia Sotomayor, appointed by President Barack Obama); Justice Elena Kagan (appointed by President Barack Obama); Justice Neil Gorsuch (appointed by President Donald Trump); Justice Brett Kavanaugh (appointed by President Trump); and Amy Coney Barrett (appointed by President Trump).
Chief Justice John Roberts could lead the Court in deciding to consider one of the many challenges to the Presidential election of 2020. The Supreme Court declined to hear three challenges, and at least sixty cases were decided by state and federal courts. Surely, there must still be one in the pipeline that would allow the Supreme Court to review the evidence and reach a conclusion about whether the election was wrongly decided, whether there was massive voter fraud, and whether voting machines were rigged to favor the Biden-Harris ticket. One of the voting machine companies, Smartmatic, has been accused of “rigging” the vote in multiple states, but it was used only in Los Angeles County. Both Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems have filed massive defamation lawsuits against those who accused them of switching votes from Trump to Biden.
A careful review by the Supreme Court could take into consideration the lengthy record of litigation in federal district courts and appeals courts where the Trump campaign was unable to produce any evidence for its claims of election fraud. Outside the courtroom, campaign officials made lurid charges of voter fraud, lost ballots, rigged machines, ballot dumps, and votes cast by dead people, but they didn’t repeat those claims in the courtroom because they had no evidence.
If the nation is ever to heal, there must be a reckoning with the charges that are now poisoning our politics. A sizable portion of the nation does not believe that Joe Biden won the election. A significant part of the Republican Party believes that his presidency is illegitimate. Such claims damage the ability of our political system to function. These claims were the basis of the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 that might have led to mass casualties, had it not been for the bravery of an overwhelmed Capitol Police force. Former President Trump has made clear that he will continue to insist that the election was stolen from him. He will not stop undermining his successor.
Only an institution that has the trust of the majority of the American people, and especially an institution that has the trust of Republicans, can settle this matter to the satisfaction of the vast majority of our citizens.
Only the United States Supreme Court have the credibility to review the facts and set the record straight about the 2020 election.