(Liberty Bell) – The attorneys general of 20 states are warning members of Congress that their bill to federalize decision-making powers over elections is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
In a letter issued to leaders of the Senate and House, the AGs warn they may be forced to take Congress to court, according to Conservative Firing Line.
The plan. H.R. 1, has already passed the House and is now being considered by the Senate.
The poorly-named For the People Act of 2021, the AGs wrote, “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,” the top state legal officers write.
They explain that the act would “invert” this key constitutional structure as well as “commandeer state resources, confuse and muddle elections procedures, and erode faith in our elections and systems of governance.”
They also suggest that members of Congress also might want to consider the constitutional vulnerabilities of the state along with policy critiques made by state officials.
“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 choosing 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 letter also said.
The AGs believe that the wording in question is no “accident.”
They explain that the framers, after much debate, “deliberately excluded Congress from deciding how presidential electors would be chosen in order to avoid presidential dependence on Congress for position and authority.”
Meanwhile, 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…”
They then zero in on perhaps the most concerning part of the bill, “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.’)” the AGs explain.
The officials also accuse the Democrats supporting the plan of enacting a “one-sided approach to governing” which “usurps states’ authority.”
They make clear that, should the Senate pass the bill and it is signed by President Joe Biden, they will not be taking it sitting down.
“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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