Back To School For The Law Professor

Doug Jones
Doug Jones for Senate


You can’t make up stuff like this.

Within hours of Doug Jones’ apparent victory in the Alabama special election, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was insisting that the vote on the GOP tax cuts/reforms be put off until Jones is sworn in and can vote, ostensibly against it. Since the vote could be very close, Schumer’s demand is clever, if not likely to succeed.

Alabama has two sitting senators right now, Richard Shelby and Luther Strange—Strange having been appointed to fill the seat after Jeff Sessions resigned to join the cabinet. Each state gets two votes in the Senate, and Alabama has two. This is how it works.

But where Chuck Schumer is just doing his job, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is embarrassing herself (again).

This professor of law at Harvard seems not to know the law. As Jones was celebrating, she tweeted that she was “calling on” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to “seat @GDouglasJones without any delay”.

Her tweet went viral as her acolytes started a narrative that McConnell would pull some sort of trick to prevent Jones from getting in on the now-imminent vote on the tax plan.

Problem: McConnell doesn’t get to decide when Jones is the senator. Jones’ state—specifically Alabama’s Secretary of State—decides that, based on “certifying” the vote. This is standard to every election, but in regular elections we seldom notice this procedure because everyone know the date for swearing in the winner is fixed in early January after the November election. Jones is elected by his state, not by the U.S. Senate. In fact, according to WHNT-TV, the SecState has 22 days to certify the election. It could be important because of military and absentee ballots, or if a recount is requested or automatically triggered. Another news station in AL puts the likely certification “around Dec. 27-30th”. Strange’s office says he will step aside and assist Doug Jones into office as soon as certification occurs.

This is not denying the will of the voters, or preventing Jones from taking the office he won.

It’s just sad and sickening that Sen. Warren either doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, that the voters of the state, and the government of the state, “make” a senator. Not Washington D.C. Not Mitch McConnell.

Here’s why Warren should know this: she teaches it.

Coincidentally, when her state’s voters made her their senator, she succeeded a man who’d been elected in a special race to fill a vacancy, Scott Brown. Brown was elected on January 19th and was not certified to be seated as a U.S. senator until Feb. 5th.

She was there. But she doesn’t know?



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