Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Did Thomas Jefferson Count Himself into the Presidency?

This is great: In an article entitled "Did Jefferson Abuse His Authority to Count Himself into the Presidency?", Bruce Ackerman argues over at HNN that Thomas Jefferson counted Georgia's electoral votes in his own column in the election of 1800 even though Georgia's vote did not comply with the Constitution:
The problem involved Georgia’s electoral vote. The original document in the National Archives violates the express terms of the Constitution. Nevertheless, Jefferson ignored these blatant constitutional defects, and counted all four of Georgia’s electoral votes into his own column. If he had excluded the ballot, he might have lost the presidency to John Adams. It’s also quite possible that Adams’s running-mate, Charles Coatesworth Pinckney, might have become the third President of the United States!

Apparently this revelation is not new. Ackerman cites a 2004 law review article that he and another published several years ago, Bruce Ackerman & David Fontana, "Thomas Jefferson Counts Himself Into the Presidency," University of Virginia Law Review, vol. 90, pp. 551-643 (2004). What Ackerman doesn't tell you is that you can download the entire law review article from the University of Virginia Law Review website for free.

Thanks to American Presidents Blog for the tip.

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