Attorneys general from 20 states are warning Congress members that their bill to federalize decision-making about elections violates the Constitution.
The letter to Senate and House leaders warns they may have to take Congress to court, reports Conservative Firing Line.
The House already has approved the plan, and the Senate now is considering it.
The chief legal officers said the For the People Act of 2021 “betrays several Constitutional deficiencies and alarming mandates that, if passed, would federalize state elections and impose burdensome costs and regulations on state and local officials.”
“Under both the Elections Clause of Article I of the Constitution and the Electors Clause of Article II, States have principal — and with presidential elections, exclusive — responsibility to safeguard the manner of holding elections,” they argue.
“The Act would invert that constitutional structure, commandeer state resources, confuse and muddle elections procedures, and erode faith in our elections and systems of governance. Accordingly, Members of Congress may wish to consider the Act’s constitutional vulnerabilities as well as the policy critiques of state officials,” they write.
“First, the Act regulates ‘election for Federal office,’ defined to include ‘election for the office of President or Vice President.’… The Act therefore implicates the Electors Clause, which expressly affords ‘Each State’ the power to ‘appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,’ the state’s allotment of presidential electors, and separately affords Congress only the more limited power to ‘determine the Time of chusing the Electors.’… That exclusive division of power for setting the ‘manner’ and ‘time’ of choosing presidential electors differs markedly from the collocated powers of the Article I Elections Clause, which says that both States and Congress have the power to regulate the ‘time, place, and manner’ of congressional elections.”
The AGs said the wording isn’t an “accident.”
“After extensive debate, the Constitution’s Framers deliberately excluded Congress from deciding how presidential electors would be chosen in order to avoid presidential dependence on Congress for position and authority… Accordingly, the Supreme Court, in upholding a Michigan statute apportioning presidential electors by district, observed that the Electors Clause ‘convey[s] the broadest power of determination’ and ‘leaves it to the [state] legislature exclusively to define the method’ of appointment of electors. McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 27 (1892) (emphasis added). The exclusivity of state power to ‘define the method’ of choosing presidential electors means that Congress may not force states to permit presidential voting by mail or curbside voting, for example…”
But possibly the worst offense is the act’s “limitations on voter ID laws.”
“Fairly considered, requiring government-issued photo identification at the polls represents nothing more than a best practice for election administration. Government-issued photo identification has been the global standard for documentary identification for decades. Nearly twenty years ago, in the Help America Vote Act, Congress required first-time voters who register by mail without proof of identification to present identification either to the county voter-registration office or at the polls. 42 U.S.C. § 15483(b). It thereby acknowledged the existence of voter fraud and the capacity of documentary identification to prevent it. 148 Cong. Rec. S10489 (Oct. 16, 2002) (statement of Sen. Bond) (‘By passage of this legislation, Congress has made a statement that vote fraud exists in this country.’)”
And they charge that the Democrats supporting the plan are taking a “one-sided approach to governing” that “usurps states’ authority.”
If Congress approves it and Joe Biden signs it?
“We will seek legal remedies to protect the Constitution, the sovereignty of all states, our elections, and the rights of our citizens.”
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