Last Updated on January 5, 2021
A legal brief by Arizona Representative Mark Finchem has revealed how the state legislature can call itself into a special session with just a simple majority.
On Wednesday, Congress will meet in a joint session to discuss the Electoral College votes. However, a number of the states are contested by President Trump and his supporters, noting that they are racked with irregularities and potential voter fraud. One of these states, Arizona has currently certified their 11 Electoral College votes for Joe Biden, but there are calls for this to be reversed.
Dr Kelli Ward, the chair of the Arizona GOP, has said that the state legislature should use their plenary power and decertify the results of their elections, due to the irregularities, until a full forensic audit can be completed. Governor Doug Ducey has refused to call them into session early, and so legislators cannot currently vote on the issue – the Arizona legislators are set to come back on January 11th.
In today's update, Chairwoman @kelliwardaz repeats her call for the Arizona State Legislature to decertify the so-called results of the 2020 Presidential Election until a full and transparent audit can be completed. pic.twitter.com/SRVhWxEltI
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) January 5, 2021
According to Arizona’s constitution, a super majority would be required for the legislature to call itself into a special session. However, a legal brief by Arizona State Rep. Finchem, the chairman of the House’s Federal Relations Committee, and exclusively obtained by National File, suggests this is not the case, and only a simple majority is needed.
The brief, which was originally disseminated among Arizona legislators, argues that the American Constitution is the supreme law of the land, not the state’s constitution, therefore meaning that the Arizona Legislature is not bound by its own statutes to call itself into a special session to decertify fraudulent votes:
Article II, Section 1, paragraph 2, grants plenary authority to determine how electors are appointed to the State Legislatures… It is the plenary authority and obligation of the Legislature to do so. Since this authority and obligation is placed solely upon the Legislature by the highest law of the land, the Legislatures are not impeded by state statutes in fulfilling this duty. Indeed, in light of the Supremacy Clause, it would be disingenuous to argue that state procedural requirements prevent the Arizona Legislature from fulfilling its duty under the United States Constitution. This means that the Legislature may be called to a Special Session with a simple majority of members (31 in the House of Representatives and 16 in the Senate) to fulfill its Constitutional duty to direct the appointment of electors and ensure a republican form of government in Arizona…
Where there is reasonable suspicion that election fraud has occurred, the Legislature has the duty to call itself into session to hear testimony and accept other forms of evidence to prove or disprove the alleged election fraud. Where the evidence of fraud is so compelling that it calls into question the legitimacy of the election, the Legislature is duty bound to direct the appropriate appointment of Electors. In the matter of the Electoral College Electors, time is of the essence. If the election is proven to be illegitimate, the Legislature has the solemn Constitutional duty to take appropriate action to ensure the will of the people is accurately reflected.
The move for a special session with just a simple majority has been supported by a number of Arizona legislators, including Finchem, Senator-elect Kelly Townsend, and Representative Anthony Kern. Speaking exclusively to National File, Arizona State Senator-elect Wendy Rogers said that she “fully supports a special session”:
Under the Constitution we only need a majority. We must do whatever it takes to restore faith in our elections. As I write this, the people of Arizona still have not been able to forensically audit the machines that decided our elections. Something is very wrong with that. I want to see the machines audited, the Maricopa Board of Supervisors arrested for ignoring a subpoena, and Dominion banned from Arizona.
You can read the full brief by Finchem below:AZ Legal Theory Brief