When Republican Lana Theis became a state senator, she swore an oath to “support the Constitution of the United States.”
Theis violated that oath when she signed a radical letter attempting to interfere with Congress’s constitutional duty to count the votes of the Electoral College and determine the winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election. Delaying the counting of votes until Congress and federal law enforcement conducted “an objective and transparent investigation” into unsubstantiated election fraud would have unconstitutionally extended Trump’s time in office by preventing the timely inauguration of his successor.
On Jan. 4, 2021, Theis signed a letter addressed to “Members of the United States Congress” that included the line: “Given the imminent joint session of Congress to count and certify electoral college votes we would ask you to temporarily delay certification in the name of national unity.”
That letter was posted to Theis’s Facebook page, but was later removed without explanation, other than to claim that it had been a “draft.”
Later, Theis signed a second letter asking for an investigation into (non-existent) election fraud, a letter that did not include anything about delaying the counting of electoral college votes. When the news media published the first letter, Theis asked that it be replaced, even though it was perfectly accurate that she had signed it.
Why the great concern to replace that letter?
It could be because Theis and the other signers realized that they had violated their oath of office and could be subject to removal from office.
She and her supporters will argue that the first letter doesn’t count. But I say it does. She signed it. She agreed with its sentiment. The length of time during which she agreed with that sentiment is irrelevant, in the same way that a person need not premeditate a murder for X number of days in order to be considered to have engaged in premeditation.
We have no way of knowing the number of people who saw that first, radical letter after it was published on social media. For all we know, it could have made its way into far-right chat rooms, or to Donald Trump himself.
We don’t know why she changed her mind, but more likely than not it’s because someone figured out that there was real legal jeopardy connected with the document.
Why such jeopardy?
By asking Congress to delay counting the votes of the electoral college in the letter Theis replaced, she and the other signers were attempting to block implementation of Article II, Sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.” That would have cleared the way for President-elect Joe Biden to be inaugurated on Jan. 20, as Section 1 of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution requires.
But delaying the counting until a lengthy criminal investigation was completed could have pushed back Biden’s inauguration for months, leaving Trump illegally in office.
Interfering in an act required in the U.S. Constitution and halting the peaceful transfer of power is not a way to “support the Constitution of the United States.” Indeed, it’s an attempt to subvert the very Constitution that Theis took an oath to uphold.
Theis is a radical who needs to be held accountable for attempting, however briefly, to halt the scheduled transfer of power.