*The following is a column by R Muse*
Last month three Americans filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the United States for a “writ of mandamus” asking the High Court Justices to take “mandatory action” in what is called “the nature of public duty.” FisherShannon at Daily Kos first reported a couple of weeks ago that the “hopeful” document was filed by Diane Blumstein, Donna Soodalter-Toman, and Nancy Goodman, and that the petition was assigned a docket number, 16-907. The filers had waited for the High Court to render a decision on whether or not to even look at the filing, a decision the Court promised by February 21, 2017.
On Wednesday, that decision was rendered when the petition was distributed to the High Court’s Justices for a conference scheduled for March 17, 2017.
The petition’s filers are arguing that according to the U.S. Constitution’s Article IV § 4, it is the federal government’s duty is to keep the United States’ territories safe from invasion by foreigners. Article IV § 4 says:
“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 “invasion” is, according to the writ’s filing, the Russian cyber-attack (hacking) during the 2016 election that warrants the Court’s action; nullifying the “entire election” going back to the primary races. The grounds are that there is more than sufficient evidence cited by intelligence agencies that the “invasion” (hacking) intent was altering the results of the election. The petitioners are seeking an “entirely new election” according to Title 28 of the U.S. Code § 1251 where the Supreme Court has “original jurisdiction” because a foreign nation was involved.
They say that there is no remedy for the “foreign cyber-invasion” except for “complete nullification of the election. 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, the petition’s filers argue, other than complete nullification of the 2016 general election.
According to the man who authored the petition for the writ of mandamus, Jerroll Sanders:
“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. 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.”
Mandamus means “we command” and is a judicial remedy in the form or a superior court order to any “government subordinate, public authority, or corporation” to take a specific action that the body, in this case the federal government, is obliged to do under law; in this cases the filers believe it is a statutory duty to protect the nation from “foreign invasion.”
The petition’s filers believe that a “writ of mandamus” from the High Court will “remedy defects of justice;” such as the injustice of a foreign government interfering with an American election.
According to legal scholars, an applicant pleading for a writ of mandamus “should” be able to demonstrate that they have a legal right to “compel” the respondent, in this case the federal government, to either do, or refrain from doing, some specific act. There are two qualities cited in order for the writ of mandamus to be enforced. It must be a “duty of public nature and the duty must be imperative” and not discretionary. One of the only reasons mandamus will not be granted is if “adequate relief cannot be obtained by some other means, such as an appeal.”
The petition’s filers believe that:
“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.”
According to the filers, there is more than sufficient evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign” to sway public favor towards Donald Trump to put him in the White House. And they cited the then-recently declassified report detailing the extent of Russian interference based on the release of the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The writ being placed on the High Court’s docket is rare according to “SCOTUS estimates that just 0.01 percent of cases” filed with the High Court are ever granted “plenary” review with oral arguments. At the time of filing the petitioners understood that the “odds were stacked against them,” but now that the “writ is on the docket” for the Justices to review, they are holding out more hope that the odds are now in their favor.