The January 6 committee does not exist to abolish the electoral college

No law can prevent all coups in all their forms. But the weaknesses of the ECA make it exceptionally dangerous to our democratic processes. Legal experts say the law is exceptionally poorly drafted, even by congressional standards, and its vagueness makes it ripe for misinterpretation and manipulation. Clarifying the responsibilities of Joint Session members and the Vice President during the transition would help prevent similar crises in the future. It should be noted that even some Republicans, like Mitch McConnell, have expressed support for the possibility of CEA reform. Perhaps he is aware that the pro-Trump interpretation of 2020, where Pence could have unilaterally re-elected himself and his running mate for four more years, will not work in favor of the GOP when Kamala Harris chairs the next joint session in two year.

Axios’ report on the Raskin-Cheney debate also noted that other members have come forward with their own potential legislative proposals. Florida Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat, has reportedly crafted a proposal to expand federal laws that criminalize seditious conspiracy and other related crimes. Depending on how it is drafted, such a law could fill a potential loophole for such offenses that allows individual perpetrators to be punished but not those who orchestrate their actions. Cheney also reportedly called for the creation of a “supreme dereliction of duty” offense, likely in response to Trump’s refusal to quell the attack on the Capitol while it was underway.

Another law worth reviewing would be the Insurrection Act of 1807, which governs when the president can deploy US troops to suppress rebellions and insurgencies. The New York Times reported in April that committee members were considering changing the law in light of the events of January 6, when the president himself was a contributing factor to civil unrest rather than opposing it. When Trump embarked on a military-themed parade in 2019, I proposed that Congress ban the president from deploying the armed forces inside Washington without congressional approval. At the same time, lawmakers should also consider giving the mayor of the District of Columbia more control over the DC National Guard instead of funneling that authority through the White House.

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