While the world is paying attention to theatrical battles over President Trump’s executive orders and cabinet nominees, a largely unnoticed and potentially landmark case sits before the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. A petition for a writ of mandamus seeking to nullify the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election sits on the SCOTUS docket.
A petition for a writ of mandamus is a filing imploring a Court to take mandatory action in the nature of public duty. The writ – filed Jan 18, 2017 by Diane Blumstein, Donna Soodalter-Toman, and Nancy Goodman – has been assigned docket number 16-907.
The main argument for the writ is that, per Article IV § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, it is the job of the federal government to keep U.S. territory safe from foreign invasion. The Constitution stipulates, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion.” The petition cites evidence of such an invasion, namely the Russian hacking, and asks that the entire 2016 election be nullified, all the way back to the primaries, on the grounds that cyber-territory in the U.S. was invaded with the intention of altering the results of our Presidential election. The petitioners seek an entirely new election.
Per Title 28 of the U.S. Code § 1251, SCOTUS has “original jurisdiction” over cases like this due to the involvement of a foreign state. There is no remedy for the foreign cyber-invasion, they argue, other than complete nullification.
“I knew there was a strong legal argument for this, and we had cases prepared in several states, but we decided to consolidate all of our efforts into this one case for the sake of judicial efficiency,” said Jerroll Sanders, who wrote the petition for the writ of mandamus and served as national legal strategist for the group REVOTE. “There is a chance the election could be ruled invalid due to the mountain of evidence that we were invaded with an intent to sway our election. If we are able to argue this case, I think we can win it.”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently declassified a report detailing the Russian hacking with evidence that Vladimir Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign” to sway public favor in the direction of Donald Trump to influence the results of the U. S. Presidential election.
REVOTE‘s website states, “As the leaders of the free world, we cannot allow an adversary to invade our territory and subvert our republican form of government. If other nations such as Austria and the Ukraine held a revote after Russia intervened in their election, so should we.”
A response is due from SCOTUS on February 21 with an answer as to whether the Court will hear oral arguments in this case. The fact that this petition for a writ of mandamus is being considered is quite remarkable. SCOTUS estimates that just 0.01% of cases filed with the court are granted plenary review with oral arguments, so the odds are stacked against this case being heard, but the writ is on the docket and they hold out hope that the odds are in their favor.
Written by Shannon Fisher
Listen to interview with Jerroll Sanders on The Authentic Woman about the Petition for a Writ of Mandamus currently on the SCOTUS docket:
Note: To avoid any confusion, it should be noted that the same petitioners initially made a separate filing, unrelated to the Petition for a Writ of Mandamus. They filed an Application for a Stay of the Presidential Inauguration with SCOTUS, which was denied. This separate filing was heard by the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Massachusetts, and denied by Circuit Court Judges Lynch, Kayatta and Barron. The petitioners appealed the Application for a Stay to SCOTUS, but it was denied by both Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg. This application should not be confused with the current petition for a writ of mandamus being considered by the court.