New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell has called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to refuse to seat 126 Republicans who signed on to a Texas lawsuit aimed at throwing out election results in four states that backed President-elect Joe Biden.
The Supreme Court declined to hear the case in a short, unsigned statement on Friday evening but by that time 126 GOP members of the House had joined an amicus brief in support of the suit.
Pascrell, a Democrat who represents New Jersey's 9th congressional district, invoked Reconstruction Era "safeguards to cleanse from our government ranks any traitors and others that would destroy the union."
"I'm demanding that the 126 Republicans who have endorsed a malignant lawsuit to overturn the will of the people and undermine our democracy not be seated in Congress," Pascrell tweeted on Friday.
In a letter to Pelosi, Pascrell cited Article 1, Section 5 of the Constitution which "gives each chamber of Congress the ultimate authority to decide their membership."
He also invoked the 14th Amendment, passed in the wake of Southern secession and the Civil War. Section 3 of the amendment forbids anyone from holding office in federal or state government who "having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any state legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any state, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."
"Stated simply, men and women who would act to tear the United States government apart cannot serve as members of Congress," wrote Pascrell, who is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
"These lawsuits seeking to obliterate public confidence in our democratic system by invalidating the clear results of the 2020 presidential election undoubtedly attack the text and spirit of the Constitution, which each Member swears to support and defend.
"Consequently, I call on you to exercise the power of your offices to evaluate steps you can take to address these constitutional violations this Congress and, if possible, refuse to seat in the 117th Congress any Members-elect seeking to make Donald Trump an unelected dictator," he said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is one of the Republicans who signed up to the suit and the highest ranking GOP member in the House. Refusing to seat him and 125 of his party colleagues would give Democrats a substantial majority but would be an unprecedented and highly controversial move.
Though critics have charged that the Texas lawsuit is "seditious", it does not meet the legal definition of sedition, which requires the use of force. Pelosi had not responded to Pascrell's letter at the time of writing.