June 12, 2015

AS MUCH RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AS OBAMA: In my latest oped with David Rivkin, we explain why Hillary Clinton’s voter reform proposals–automatic voter registration at age 18, a 20-day early voting period, allowing felons to vote, etc.–are all likely to be unconstitutional:

A federal takeover of election laws—and rolling back state voter-ID laws intended to discourage election fraud—is a high priority for progressives. The billionaire financier George Soros reportedly has pledged $5 million to bankroll legal challenges to laws like those that Mrs. Clinton decries. Part of the effort is intended simply to galvanize the Democratic base by stoking a sense of grievance, but the strategy should be taken seriously—and rebutted as unconstitutional. . . .

Congress can use its Elections Clause power to pre-empt state laws, but its pre-emptive authority should be restrained by the anti-commandeering principle. Congress cannot conscript state officials to execute federal congressional-election reforms, but instead must use federal officials to do so. . . .

Republicans have been muted in their response to Mrs. Clinton and the attempt to expand federal power over elections and undermine states’ anti-fraud election laws. Such reticence is a mistake. They would have the Constitution and legal precedent on their side in rebutting her proposals—as they would if they launched a fresh legal challenge to the Motor Voter law. 

Mrs. Clinton is making it clear that, if elected, we can expect her to continue President Obama’s disdain for the Constitution. Clinton’s fury over the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision—which allowed the airing of Hillary: The Movie, as an exercise of free speech—has led her to propose scaling back the First Amendment. Her zeal to expand amnesty for illegal immigrants has caused her to declare that she will “go even further” than President Obama’s actions, which a federal judge has enjoined due to separation of powers concerns. Her eagerness to win the presidency now leads her to disregard yet another fundamental constitutional concept—federalism.

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