Federal overreach? I think not.

Constitutional conservatives seem to forget about Art. 1, Sec. 4 of the Constitution.

“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.” (emphasis added)

Congress has dominion over federal elections. Anyone saying that the election laws proposed by the Democrats in Congress constitutes “federal overreach” is, in a single word. WRONG.

Justice Scalia in a 2013 opinion wrote, ““The power of Congress over the ‘Times, Places and Manner’ of congressional elections ‘is paramount, and may be exercised at any time, and to any extent which it deems expedient; and so far as it is exercised, and no farther, the regulations effected supersede those of the State which are inconsistent therewith.’”

“The legal scholar Pamela S. Karlan put it this way in a 2006 report on the Voting Rights Act: “The Supreme Court’s recent decisions under the elections clause have confirmed the longstanding interpretation of the clause as a grant of essentially plenary authority.” In other words, Congress has absolute, unbending power to regulate federal elections as it sees fit.” – from Jamelle Bouie opinion piece in today’s NYT.

And the 15th Amendment …” ratified in 1870, expanded and reaffirmed the power of Congress to regulate federal elections, stating that, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” and that “The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.””

So how does one square the idea of overreach with what the Constitution says? I’m talking to our moderator and EVERY single GOP member of Congress and the right wing talking heads.

39 thoughts on “Federal overreach? I think not.

  1. The 15th Amendment does require that everyone have opportunity to vote, not impaired by race or other factor. The decisions referenced were related to the Voting Rights Act and other laws protecting those 15th Amendment rights.

    Whether that authority extends to overruling fraud prevention measures enacted by the States is questionable, but even if it is Constitutional to meddle in such election integrity measures, it is still a profoundly bad idea.

    Thinking that ensuring a fair election in Alaska or Montana requires the same rules as in Illinois or Connecticut is just plain stupid.

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    1. “ Thinking that ensuring a fair election in Alaska or Montana requires the same rules as in Illinois or Connecticut is just plain stupid.”

      Why?

      Suppose in the interest of election integrity, a state passes a law that says a person has to be personally vetted by the local official in order to vote. Sure that seems far fetched. But no more than a local official calling a fouled election so the legislature can pick electors. And that is in the works in many states.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Allowing a freight carrier bush pilot to carry ballots to the nearest post office makes sense when the nearest post office is 100 miles away, but it is an unnecessary opportunity for diversion when there is a mail pickup at your house every day.

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          1. When an applied for absentee ballot (in say mid-September) is not received until mid- to late-October, how can you be confident that it will be received by election officials in time to be counted?

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          2. But the Postal Service was being doubted. And there are a lot of older American citizens living alone there who can’t get to the polling place or registrar’s office.

            Your Alaska narrative notwithstanding, you don’t want everyone eligible to be able to participate. You have made the clear on numerous occasions. You have indicated the need for some sort of literacy tests to vote. (UNLESS they are Libertarian or Republican).

            You are anti-Democracy when it comes to voting in this country and you prove it on a regular basis.

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        1. What, pray tell, is the difference? In a state like Alaska, a few votes can make a difference. If that pilot is buddies with local election officials, ballots might just “accidentally “ get lost in the snow.

          You trust Alaskans more than election workers elsewhere?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. In Alaska, requiring a personal trek of 100 miles to cast a ballot is unreasonable. walking to your mailbox is not.

            One size fits all does not work for our nation.

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  2. “Anyone saying that the election laws proposed by the Democrats in Congress constitutes “federal overreach” is, in a single word. WRONG.”

    Nope.

    You can make the case that it is not unconstitutional, but not that it is not Federal overreach.

    Simply because something is not prohibited by the Constitution does not make it a good idea or nor contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers.

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    1. “Simply because something is not prohibited by the Constitution does not make it a good idea or nor contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers.”

      You really miss the point. How many people, yourself included, have said that the proposals constitute federal overreach? It is an inaccurate claim. As inaccurate as the election was stolen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would be Federal overreach, whether Constitutional or not.

        The unlawful changes to the rules by States executive branches. or election officials, were unconstitutional.

        The Constitution allows, but does not require, Congress(not the executive branch) to have oversight over Federal elections in the states but nowhere allows the States executives or bureaucracy to override their legislatures.

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        1. The abuse of power that is occurring by GOP legislatures (that many actually represent a MINORITY of voters) calls for protection by the Federal government and is LEGAL and RIGHT, per the Constitution.

          Your Constitutional purity is starting lose its luster.

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          1. The laws in Georgia and Texas allow fore voter nullification.

            You are talking about ID laws, which, if they don’t keep changing what is acceptable forms is not an issue.

            And now your straws are being called out. But go ahead and keep grasping at them. You are doing so on two threads today and watching you twist like a pretzel is becoming amusing.

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          2. If election officials, or in some cases the GOP controlled legislatures, don’t like or agree with the election results, they can appoint new electors. That isn’t democracy; that is power grabbing. NULLIFICATION.

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  3. RE: “Congress has dominion over federal elections.”

    The way I read Art. 1, Sec. 4, “dominion” rests with the states originally and remains there until Congress takes it away. So, while Congress has the power to take this “dominion” for itself, it would be an abuse of power to do so frivolously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I disagree with your interpretation. It would not be an abuse of power to STOP and abuse of power. And that is what GOP legislatures appear to be doing to curry favor with a twice impeached, two-time popular vote loser who holds sway over a once proud political party.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RE: “It would not be an abuse of power to STOP and abuse of power.”

        It would not be wrong the burn a witch to stop her from practicing witchcraft, either. The procedure, however, is fraught with error.

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          1. I’m pointing out that your logic is circular and self-serving. The challenge for you is to show that the actions of the GOP legislatures deserve to be overturned by Congress. Saying that the Constitution allows the overturning isn’t enough. Neither is your low opinion of the GOP.

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          2. If the shoe were on the other foot, you would be having a conniption. I have made the point that the several states are enacting laws that allow for voter nullification. Voter nullification should never be jeopardized by the states, regardless of which party is doing it. It just so happens that the GOP is guilty of passing laws that will allow it to happen.

            My opinion of the GOP has changed from respect to disdain because of one man and one man only. The capitulation by the party to a man over the country and the Constitution is reason enough for that opinion.

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          3. RE: “If the shoe were on the other foot, you would be having a conniption.”

            Maybe I’m a witch.

            I will say, though, that I’m generally OK with states that I don’t live in passing laws I don’t like. My first response wouldn’t be to use Congress to impose my will on them.

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          4. Witch is NOT the word I would use to describe you.

            ANd it is Congress’s DUTY to ensure fairness for ALL Americans. The Articles of Confederation died in 1781.

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  4. I’m not sure of your point. The article you reference could easily be interpreted to mean state legislatures have influence over conduct of state legislative elections and that is it. Trying to federalize the conduct of states federal election rights by fiat is another kettle of fish. Executive branches have NO legal authority to change election statutes or conduct as evidenced by the US and every state constitution. Be careful what you wish for. Diminishing filibusters to pass pet bills or federalizing election conduct will only lead to rule change when the other side wins and that WILL happen VERY quickly as evidenced by Biden/Harris approval ratings. 2022 midterms is going to be a slaughter house

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    1. Like Don, you miss the main point of my discussion: It is about the ability of state government officials to overturn election results if they don’t like the outcome.

      If it were the shoe on the other foot and Democratic legislatures passed the same kind of laws, you would be screaming to high heaven. But because of gerrymandering and other political games, Majority representation for a minority of voters exists, and the actual voting population majority is locked out.

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