by Diane Rufino, Oct. 7, 2016
Elections and the Collusion of Corruption: The Engineering of Political and Government Tyranny. Its tools are voter fraud and massive collusion of political power.
The current generation of Americans is a sad generation. An unfortunate generation. They are far removed from the days when the country struggled with its rich heritage – a heritage forged in England with the 600-year struggle for independence from an over-bearing King. When an overbearing King George III and British Parliament evidenced a similar design to oppress the colonies and deny its people the rights and liberties that had been asserted time and time, the colonies revolted, took up arms, and fought successfully for their independence. The promise of a new land truly dedicated to individual liberty together with a long history strongly suggesting that such liberty is always short-lived, motivated our Founding Fathers to do something extraordinary. They drafted a form of government to overcome the limitations and shortfalls of Great Britain and in that system, they embedded many levels of checks and balances.
One of those checks and balances is the doctrine of Separation of Powers, a doctrine articulated by Montesquieu in his book The Spirit of Laws (L’esprit des Lois”), in which he explains society’s need for government and the need for protections in that government to prevent abuse. The Separation of Powers doctrine is based on the natural tendency of government to concentrate power; the concentration of all political power – legislative, executive, judicial – in the hands of one man, a few men, or even a government entity is total tyranny. Such a man, group of men, or government entity with such a monopoly over the scope of government power is the most dangerous of all. One only needs to look at Adolf Hitler or Josef Stalin, and other totalitarian rulers. Now, if government power is divided among its branches with the understanding that each branch will jealously guard its sphere of power, then power should remain separated and contained. After all, one branch that tries to assume more power has to misappropriate it from another branch. This doctrine is most powerful when there is a Constitution which legally limits power to all branches, which supposedly is what our system provides. The caveat is and what has always been is that the Constitution must be respected.
The second check and balance is the most powerful of all in our American system – our system of Federalism. Our Founders divided government power between two powerful governing entities (sovereigns) – the States (considered to be the most powerful on most objects of government) and the federal government (only powerful on the limited areas listed in the US Constitution). What makes this design element so unique and so essential to the maintenance of a limited government is that it uses each powerful sovereign to keep the other in check. Sovereign against Sovereign; Titan against Titan (to invoke an analogy in Greek mythology). Again, each sovereign is supreme over its area of responsibility. The belief was that each sovereign (each Titan) would forever jealously guard its sphere of responsibility. The government’s powers are expressly delegated in the Constitution. All other areas are reserved to the states, as the American people were promised first in the Articles of Confederation (Section II, immediately following the declaration that the name of the new American Union would be the United States of America, which was Section I) and currently in the Tenth Amendment. The US Constitution has never been amended to take any of the States’ reserved powers away from them, including during and after the infamous War of Northern Aggression. For clarity on the States’ reserved powers, one needs only to look at Federalist No. 45, written by James Madison, the author of the Constitution and the man who attended every day of the Constitutional Convention, documenting the discussions and debates and capturing the collective understanding of the terms and provisions of the document as understood by all of the States (through their delegates) at that historic gathering. Federalist No. 45 goes into detail about the general character of this separation of sovereign power. Federalism is the last in our government’s series of Checks and Balances. (Maybe most important!)
The checks and balances were always intended to limit government and prevent the type of government abuse that has eroded a free society in the societies of the past. The more limited a government is, the greater its people can exercise their rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
Checks and balances, to put it another way, were included in our form of government in order to prevent a monopoly over the meaning, purpose, and scope of government.
Going back to my first paragraph, our current generation is far removed from the struggles to prevent the government itself – just the powers in Washington DC – from consolidating its powers in order to affect such a monopoly. The monopoly was actually perfected the year the Supreme Court decided for itself that its branch had far more power than originally granted in Article III of the US Constitution. That was the case of Marbury v. Madison (1803). Its implications were noted by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and others and warnings went out. True and honest students of history, government, and law know of these warnings, and appreciate them. But while the federal monopoly had been established, it was not clear whether or how it would be used to grow the government in DC. The biggest fear, as most realized at the time, was the government monopoly’s unique ability to destroy federalism, the critical design feature of our American government. It was only in very recent years that the tyranny threatened by this monopoly has finally become a reality. Because our current generation was not lucky enough to enjoy the freedom that many of us enjoyed many years ago, they cannot recognize what is becoming of their lives and their existence in the United States. They don’t know what has already been lost and they have no idea of what they will continue to lose.
Encroachments on State governing power began with the Lincoln administration (with his many violations of the Constitution and then with his decision to deny them their sovereign right of self-determination with secession) and continued in the years following Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. The federal government, after first declaring that they never seceded because they never had the right to do so and hence were merely “rebellious states” which were still part of the Union, then suddenly announced that they had to “re-apply” to become part of the Union again. The government first put them under military rule and then required that every Southern state meet certain punishing requirements in order to be “admitted back into the Union,” including submitting new state constitutions (asserting that they have given up their right to secede, that their primary allegiance is to the federal government and its laws, and that they adopt both the 13th and 14th amendments. Should any Southern state not meet these conditions, they would continue to live under the laws of a Congress that included only northern representatives and no representatives of that states. In other words, they would be subject to the most extreme form of tyranny. “No taxation without representation” would be nothing compared to the existence the Southern states would have to endure. And so, defeated and humiliated, dominated and subjugated, the Southern states complied. The federal government would fundamentally change its position vis-à-vis the States and sadly, with respect to the American people themselves. Many historians would declare that the government, transformed as a result of Lincoln’s total consumption of government power and continued during Reconstruction, became an illegal, illegitimate government at that moment. Many historians would also point out that the 14th amendment was not legally proposed and ratified by the States, as required by the very terms of Article V of the Constitution.
The 14th Amendment would be the great tool used by the federal government, and particularly by the Supreme Court and progressives, to strip power from the States and greater perfect the monopoly of power in the federal government.
The stripping of sovereign power from the States and the further erosion of federalism (ie, the further consolidation of power in the federal government) would continue at the turn of the 20th century and then into the years we fought WWII. 1913 was a bad year for States’ rights (the 17th amendment took selection of Senators from the States as political entities with sovereign interests) and for the right of individuals over their earnings and investments (the federal income tax was enacted: the 16th amendment). It was, however, a great year for government, first for the power to plunder the wealth of its citizens (16th amendment) and for the power to control the value of money and to print it at will (the creation of the Federal Reserve).
During the 1960’s, there was another great assault on the States with the government declaring that schools and other public entities are forbidden to allow prayer in their functions. Religion must be stripped from the public domain and States are powerless to protect such an exercise. And during the 1970’s, the government asserted itself in the public school building by requiring that school districts be intentionally designed and created to meet racial quotas. The government ushered in the era of busing.
Through its laws – namely the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and in particular, certain provisions of each (such as Title 4 and Title 5 of the Voting Rights Act), the federal government continues to demand that the States (the Southern states and some districts of other states) forfeit their sovereign rights over traditional and historically-recognized state matters (ie, “tenth amendment reserved powers”) so that the government can weigh in on them and then tell the States what it will “allow them to do.”
This past week, thanks to WikiLeaks, we have learned the extent of the Democratic Party’s connections to the US Justice Department and to the massive liberal media. We have seen where the moderators in charge of the presidential debates, including the debates during the primary season, have been instructed closely by the Democratic Party machinery as to what questions to ask the GOP candidates and then Trump in particular. We have seen the inherent bias in those debates. We have seen the even more dubious bias in the media, which everyone knows influences the voters who have little interest or time in doing research for themselves. We have seen how the Party has given assurances to Wall Street and foreign leaders/ foreign entities to pursue certain policies advantageous to them while deceiving the American people that just the opposite will be done. We can only imagine where our tax dollars and our valuable resources will be diverted to and for what purposes. We have read emails which show that a certain Democratic presidential candidate has been given a “pass” by the US Department of Justice, for one, by not performing a proper investigation, as would be required of anyone else who breached national security protocol. We have seen that the Democratic Party and its associates have control over the ballot systems which will be used by most precincts in the US.
What these revelations show is that there is a massive COLLUSION OF CORRUPTION which one goal in mind – to dupe the American people and to ensure that a political party gains control of the White House. We all know that Hillary Clinton is not qualified to lead the country – her experience, her track record of accomplishment, and her judgement are all far too flawed and deficient and therefore prove so. But the party itself needs to control the White House. It needs to control government and to continue implementing its plans for this country.
What this actually means for you and I is that this Collusion of Corruption is divesting us of our rightful voice in government. Our very democracy is being undermined and eroded. Our rightful place in the grand scheme of our government structure is being diminished and minimized right before our eyes.
We are witnessing the engineering of political and government tyranny. The government monopoly that has been instituted for government purposes, and which has consistently and steadily worked in favor of growing the federal government and its power (the cornerstone of Democratic policy), apparently is no longer strong enough or effective enough for the political elitist class. We are witnessing something very alarming and serious: When the Democratic Party’s (Progressives’) interests are threatened by a growing popular movement, it is willing to engage in massive collusion and corruption to neutralize that movement. It will do anything to ensure that its interests remain paramount and that government works for its own interests rather than for the benefit of the States and for the good of the American people – the purposes it was established for. In the past, Democrats and progressives doggedly pursued their goals of government power, challenging the nature of the Constitution and appointing judges and justices to erode that foundational document in order to strengthen the government monopoly in their favor. That system is alive and working fastidiously, like termites on a pillar of wood. And as it erodes our Constitution and its guarantees of limited government and essential rights, the people have taken notice. And they are reacting and rebelling – politically. It is this political unrest, this push-back against the government, which has prompted the Democratic Party to come up with new tactics. It appears that its modern-day tools are voter fraud and massive collusion of political power.
As we have seen members in government, including members of the Republican Party, a party ideologically entrusted to counter the designs of the Democrats, side with this party of dubious tactics, we can only conclude that government, and its committed agents, have designs of their own, independent and distinct from the interests and concerns of the average American citizen.
THE ISSUE –
In 2013, the NC General Assembly duly and rightfully enacted a common-sense Voter ID law. Its primary purpose was to cut down on voter fraud and to ensure the integrity of the voting process. Voter confidence and election integrity had eroded terribly over the past few election cycles. Opportunities for voter fraud were being identified by the Democratic Party (community organizing tactics and tactics of the Democratic-controlled unions) and actual instances of such were being documented not only in North Carolina, Illinois (who can forget the 1960 election!), Florida (which refused to prosecute the perpetrators), and Indiana, but all over the United States as well (see Ohio, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, etc). Despite the interests of the people and the state legislature of North Carolina in ensuring that the voting process in North Carolina is transparent, accountable, and free from illegal voting schemes, the US Federal Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit (a branch of the federal government; a liberal/progressive fringe element of the federal government), decided to disregard the wisdom of a state legislature and to substitute its judgement for both the people and their duly-enacted government and strike down the Voter ID almost in its entirety.
We know the Constitution protects an individual from discrimination in the exercise of his or her right to vote, and we know that the Constitution demands Equal Protection, so doesn’t this beg the conclusion that the Constitution also requires that common-sense procedures be allowed to be in place (including the right to have a voter prove his or her identity and residence) to ensure that no one’s vote is diluted through this very essential democratic process? After all, if there is one constitutional bright line rule that stands out above all else regarding an individual’s right to vote, it is this: One Person, One Vote. In other words, a person is entitled to have his or her vote count fully and completely, without dilution. Where does dilution come from? It comes from a process where someone’s vote is counted more than others.
So, in light of this decision by the 4th Circuit and with massive fraud and collusion evidenced and confirmed, both working against the American voter, and with the outcome of an election so critically at stake, what can the battleground state of North Carolina do?
The greater question, of course, is what WILL it do?
THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION –
On Wednesday, August 31, the US Supreme Court rejected a last-effort move by Governor Pat McCrory to ensure that our Voter ID law will be in effect on November 8 for the presidential election to reduce likely efforts by the Democratic Party machine (and the Clinton Crime Syndicate) to vote illegally and to cast doubt on and make a mockery of the election process here in North Carolina. The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit handed down an OPINION at the end of July declaring our Voter ID law unconstitutional because it “intentionally discriminates” against African-Americans.” In a split 4-4 decision, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by the state of North Carolina to that preposterous opinion by the 4th Circuit. Because the Supreme Court will not take up the case (which, according to the very words of the Constitution, it was SUPPOSED to hear), the decision of the 4th Circuit is supposed to stand. At least that’s what the federal government would have you believe, and would have the States believe. Article III, Section 2, paragraph 2 of the US Constitution reads: “In all cases where a State shall be a party, the Supreme Court SHALL have original jurisdiction.” Shall = Must. To be sure, the challenge to the Voter ID law was directed at “The State of North Carolina.” In other words, the case NEVER should have been heard in any of the inferior courts – the federal district court OR the 4th Circuit. The ONLY federal court which can hear the case is the US Supreme Court. And since it appears that the Supreme Court has no interest in taking up this particular issue or has no interest in taking up another Voter ID law (it already ruled in 2008 that a strict Photo ID requirement was not an unreasonable burden for ANYONE on their right to vote or their exercise thereof), it would make sense that IF the Constitution was adhered to, North Carolina would have its Voter ID law intact for this upcoming election.
First of all, let’s be clear: the federal courts don’t issue DECISIONS; they issue OPINIONS. On the top of their “judicial decision” is written the words “THE OPINION OR THE COURT.” We have to ask ourselves a very hard question: Do we honestly believe that men (in the case of the Courts of Appeal, it only takes 2 justices out of a panel of 3) should have the full power to make decisions interpreting our Constitution and deciding matters that redistribute power from one rightful party to another? If, when such decisions threaten, burden, or destroy the rights of a State or the rights of the individual, what is the rightful recourse? Is the rightful response to cower, give in, surrender? Or is the rightful response – the American response – to side with traditional American principles of liberty, essential rights, federalism, limited government, the rights of the individual? Is it unconstitutional to ignore abusive judicial “opinions” or is it a proper exercise of civil disobedience and a proper exercise of State sovereignty (under the Tenth Amendment)?
A State must always keep in mind its critical position in the grand scheme of our government system. The Declaration of Independence declares that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government.” Relying on this very public and very historic document in the design of our common government, our Founders provided several procedural safeguards to secure these essential principles. One of those procedural safeguards – and the most important one for sure – was the division of government power between the States and the federal government. To ensure that the federal government continues to secure the rights of individuals and does not abuse, oppress, or burden them in any way in their exercise of essential liberties, and to ensure that it remains centered on its legitimate objects of governance, the States are supposed to stand up in opposition on every infraction of the federal government. This is a principle of government that supersedes the terms of the Constitution. Implied in the Constitution ratified and adopted by the States is the power of those parties to see that it is enforced.
And so, with a duty expected of it, but a history of subjugation, what should the state of North Carolina do?
It is this citizen’s opinion that North Carolina should do one of seven things: (1) Call the state legislature into an emergency session the week before early voting begins and pass another Voter ID law (making minor changes but still keeping the spirit of the law intact – requiring reliable identification to vote); (2) Ignore the opinion of the 4th Circuit, asserting that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal (just as the federal district court lacked jurisdiction to hear it), citing Article III, Section 2, paragraph 2 of the US Constitution as legal authority; (3) Ignore the OPINION of the 4th Circuit citing just that… it is only an opinion” and the state, in its equal ability to interpret the Constitution, does not agree; (4) Claim that the opinion directly calls each of the state legislators a “racist,” defames them as individuals and as a political and must be rejected as libelous and therefore illegal; (5) Claim that the opinion offends traditional notions of States Rights and under the Tenth Amendment, the state has the right and duty to defend its sphere of legitimate governing power, which includes common-sense voting laws; (6) Claim that the opinion is a clear violation of the Separation of Powers because the Court went out of its way to substitute its judicial opinion for the legislature’s rightful opinion as lawmakers and therefore illegitimate and unenforceable; or (7) Governor Pat McCrory should issue an Executive Order to all Boards of Election instructing them that a reliable identification is REQUIRED of all persons who show up to vote (and whoever cannot produce one must then-and-there, sign an affidavit and submit to having his or her photo taken). In the Appendix, I have attached a sample Executive Order.
While we are bustling about living our lives – going about our laborious days working (one-third of the time to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s), raising our children, putting them through college, caring for loved ones, taking care of our property – we had hoped that the Constitution would stand, immovable, impenetrable, unshakable, and steadfast for the rights and the principles that over a million Americans sacrificed their lives for. That’s what a constitution is – it is a fixed and permanent rulebook for the government as well as a documented grant of assurance that We the People will be able to live our lives without much government interference. Within only a few years after the Constitution was ratified and the new Union was formed, this was how the Supreme Court understood its significance:
In America, every State in the Union has its constitution reduced to written exactitude and precision. The federal government as well. What is a Constitution? It is the form of government, delineated by the mighty hand of the people, in which certain first principles of fundamental laws are established. The Constitution is certain and fixed; it contains the permanent will of the people, and is the supreme law of the land; it is paramount to the power of the Legislature, and can be revoked or altered only by the authority that made it. The life-giving principle and the death-doing stroke must proceed from the same hand. What are Legislatures? Creatures of the Constitution; they owe their existence to the Constitution: they derive their powers from the Constitution: It is their commission; and, therefore, all their acts must be conformable to it, or else they will be void. The Constitution is the work or will of the People themselves, in their original, sovereign, and unlimited capacity. Law is the work or will of the Legislature in their derivative and subordinate capacity. The one is the work of the Creator, and the other of the Creature. The Constitution fixes limits to the exercise of legislative authority, and prescribes the orbit within which it must move. In short, gentlemen, the Constitution is the sun of the political system, around which all Legislative, Executive and Judicial bodies must revolve. Whatever may be the case in other countries, yet in this there can be no doubt, that every act of the Legislature, repugnant to the Constitution, as absolutely void….. [Vanhorne’s Lessee v. Dorance(1795)]
The Law of the Land is the Constitution of the United States. And this Constitution of ours has a fixed and permanent meaning. All a justice or a judge has to do is consult those original authorities. (But they rarely ever do so, if ever). The meaning is fixed in the Federalist Papers (which Thomas Jefferson called the “best commentary on the Constitution ever written”) and in the debates of the state ratifying conventions. The meaning and intent of the Constitution as understood by each of the States when they ratified it is the PROPER and LEGAL MEANING of the Constitution. Except for the amendment process, which is the only legal way to alter or amend the meaning of the Constitution in order to reflect the changing demands of the people, there is no authority by the federal court system to re-interpret the Constitution from its original meaning. There is only one justice on the Supreme Court now who gets this (Justice Clarence Thomas). Maybe Justice Samuel Alito, another conservative, also understands this. We once thought that Chief Justice John Roberts was a conservative and would abide by this principle. All the others are progressive and believe the Constitution is a piece of wax, to be molded by the times, the circumstances, the exigencies of government, and the changing norms. They believe the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” which means it has no fixed meaning and hence can be altered and re-interpreted at the bench.
Indeed, the Law of the Land is the Constitution of the United States… a document written simply enough for every American to understand for himself that it means. If it protects our essential rights and establishes a limited government, wouldn’t you expect that document to be easily understandable by the People? Otherwise, what good is it? If you always needed a lawyer or some other brainiac to read it to you and explain it to you, how can you ever be sure he is being truthful? And perhaps one of the greatest provisions in the Constitution is the Tenth Amendment. It is the great anchor – or as I like to call it, the “Lead Weight” – that restrains government. Government loves to cite the Supremacy Clause to bolster its laws and policies, but it never cites the Tenth Amendment. Both are equally dynamic provisions of the US Constitution; both define the scope and force of the government. The Supremacy Clause pushes against the States while the Tenth pushes against the federal government. While the government can rightfully claim as its supreme authority, the States can equally claim as ITS supreme authority.
So what DOES the Constitution say? The phrase “the right to vote” appears for the first time in Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which says that states shall lose congressional representation “when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime.” The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in July 1868, has been criticized by several historians and students of the Constitution as having been unconstitutionally passed by Congress and illegitimately ratified by the federal government. In other words, it’s passage in Congress and adoption by the States did not meet constitutional requirements (as well as can be challenged under contract theories; coercion nullifies an agreement).
The section talks about the penalty for withholding the ballot but nowhere in the Constitution does it provide that every citizen necessarily has the right to vote. It is nowhere in the Bill of Rights. The Fifteenth Amendment, on the other hand, which was passed two years later in 1870, does speak specifically of “the right to vote.” The Fifteenth Amendment reads: “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.”
This particular phrase, “the right to vote of citizens of the United States,” appears again two more times, each connected with a protection from abridgement. The Nineteenth Amendment provides that the “right to vote of citizens of the United States” will not be abridged on account of gender (suffrage) and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment provides that the “right to vote of citizens of the United States” will not be abridged on account of age (18 years or older). With the amendments come a cause of action to be adjudicated and enforced by both courts and Congress. The fact that the Constitution had to ADD these amendments – to protect the “right” to vote from discrimination based on race, gender and age implies there is no explicit right to vote in the Constitution. Explicit rights, like those in the Bill of Rights, apply to all citizens regardless of any differences.
Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution provides for the “Times, Places, and Manner of Holding Elections for Senators and Representatives.” This provision allows for the popular election of senators and representatives. According to Section 4, the States have the power to prescribe such conditions (time, place, and manner), although Congress may, at any time, alter such regulations. In fact, Congress did so in 1945. By statute, it mandated a uniform date for presidential (3 U.S.C. § 1) and congressional (2 U.S.C. § 1 and 2 U.S.C. § 7) elections – the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. Article I says nothing about the right to vote. Article I says nothing about early voting, Sunday voting, or any other extension of the period to cast a vote.
Article II, Section 1 provides for the election of Electors, which will be responsible for the selection of president. “Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the State may be entitled to in the Congress….. The Electors shall meet in their respective States [and vote for President and Vice President].” Article II says nothing about Congress having any power to regulate the process of choosing electors, except that it may determine the time of choosing the Electors and the Day on which they must render their votes. The Constitution, however, says nothing about the right of citizens to vote for President. QUESTION: Does this mean that the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments’ protections of the right to vote apply only to the selection of senators and representatives? This is perhaps a question for another day and another article.
Looking at just the US Constitution, then, there would appear to be no fundamental right to vote thus requiring the government to scrutinize the process so intently. On the other hand, there is an explicit right to vote provided in virtually every state constitution. The exercise of the right to vote therefore a state matter. That is to say, states cannot deny citizens the right to vote, but they can regulate the process to address issues they believe are important. Voting laws are the rightful exercise of state government power. And this probably makes sense since it was understood from our Founders that there could be reasonable restrictions on the right to vote. In earlier days, the right to vote was limited to those who had property, for example. If the government could come after you and seize, tax, or regulate your property, then it was believed there should be “skin in the game.” There could be residency requirements and even reasonable literacy tests in order to make sure that a person had a modicum of understanding in order to vote. [The Supreme Court has continued to acknowledge that literacy tests in general are constitutional (under the States’ police powers), but Congress can prohibit them, under the Voting Rights Act, if they are used to intentionally discriminate against minorities]. The Supreme Court holds that under the Constitution, only the States have the right to set voter qualifications. In the grand scheme of things, the right to vote would seem to be a “privilege” – an incident of citizenship. Essential rights (historically-held individual rights) are those that are held to be inherent in one’s humanity. They are rights that do not come from government. That is why governments are prohibited from taking them away, and that is why the Declaration articulates that the primary role of government is to protect them for every individual. These are the liberty interests protected in the Bill of Rights. We see no restrictions like photo ID (upheld by the Supreme Court), literacy tests, residency requirements, etc on our rights of Speech, Press, our right to counsel, due process, etc. Privileges, on the other hand, are not inherent in our humanity but derive from society. Our society, in particular, is designed as a representative democracy which implies that individuals will select the representatives to government on their behalf. Unfortunately, it seems clear that the Constitution doesn’t embrace the notion that individuals have a say in the selection of president. And from Article I, it seems clear that States have the inherent right and power to regulate elections for Congress. As such, it would seem then that they have the right to regulate voting and elections in a neutral and reasonable manner for the “benefit of an ordered society” and to meet state interests.
With respect to Article I, the US Congress has not passed any law requiring an early voting period. It is up to each individual State. This is important in looking at our North Carolina Voter ID law and exactly WHAT citizens are entitled to when it comes to their right to vote and their exercise of that right. The States have historically enjoyed the power to regulate voting and regulate their elections as they see fit; it comes under their general Police Powers covered and protected by the Tenth Amendment. In fact, up until 1991, the election of president and members of Congress was essentially held on only one day – Election Day. My guess is that most state constitutions only guarantee one day of voting. North Carolina’s state constitution only guarantees one day of voting.
Many states have had some degree of early voting for a long time, and that “early voting” was typically allowing the casting of “absentee” votes in a county clerk’s office shortly before election day. But in the 1990’s, several states moved to adopt early voting in a significant way. Texas, which began to use early voting in selected elections and counties in the late 1980’s, expanded its use in the 1990’s. Oklahoma adopted early voting in 1991 and Tennessee, New Mexico, and Nevada in 1994. A number of states adopted early voting after the 2000 election and have continued the practice in subsequent elections. Among them are Arkansas, North Carolina, and West Virginia, which have high rates of early voting and low rates of absentee voting, and Florida, which has high rates of both. Texas and Tennessee have the highest rates of early voting. Along with Nevada, they reported over 40% in 2004. Arkansas, New Mexico, and North Carolina reported over 25 percent and Florida and Colorado almost 20%. A number of states, including Illinois and Maryland, enacted legislation to allow early voting in 2006.
While States have noted the benefits of Early Voting (enlarging access to the ballot box and making it easier for certain folks to vote), some have noted the drawbacks – the greater opportunity for fraud. Since the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida, paranoia about the integrity of the U.S. election system has increased. A Pew Research Center survey found that 48% of Americans were confident that “the votes across the country were accurately counted” in the 2004 election. In subsequent elections, confidence would be further eroded. Indeed, after the 2012 election, only 31% of Americans nationwide had confidence in the process. 69% felt the process was corrupted and the outcomes not necessarily trustworthy. There was a perception that people were not taking the process seriously. There was a fear of votes being stolen or being rendered meaningless because of voter fraud. Even if evidence of actual ballot tampering and voter fraud was not made public, the fear was still there.
It wasn’t just the States that were concerned about fraud. In 2005, the Commission on Federal Election Reform (aka the Carter-Baker Commission) made a bipartisan recommendation for voter identification at the polls because of the growing lack of confidence in integrity of the voting process. Even the government acknowledged a legitimate state interest in ensuring and protecting the integrity in the voting process.
Ever since Americans have lost faith in the integrity of the election process and the honesty of the voting process, voter identification has become an important provision in most state voting laws. Many states have opted for some form of photo ID provision, although some states have included other forms of identification that will serve as well. In these laws, there are procedures for when a voter does not have identification: If a voter fails to show the ID that is asked for by law, states provide alternatives and these alternatives fit into two categories – non-strict and strict.
Voter ID laws that are “non-strict” provide at least some voters who lack acceptable identification when they show up to vote to have an opportunity to cast a ballot that will be counted without further action on the part of the voter. For instance, a voter may sign an affidavit of identity, or poll workers may be permitted to vouch for the voter. In some of the “non-strict” states (Colorado, Florida, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont), voters who do not show required identification may vote on a provisional ballot. After the close of Election Day, election officials will determine (via a signature check or other verification) whether the voter was eligible and registered, and therefore whether the provisional ballot should be counted. No action on the part of the voter is required. In New Hampshire, election officials will send a letter to anyone who signed a challenged voter affidavit because they did not show an ID, and these voters must return the mailing, confirming that they are indeed in residence as indicated on the affidavit.
With “strict” Voter ID laws, on the other hand, voters without acceptable identification must vote on a provisional ballot and also take additional steps after Election Day for it to be counted. For instance, the voter may be required to return to an election office within a few days after the election and present an acceptable ID to have the provisional ballot counted. If the voter does not come back to show ID, the provisional ballot is not counted.
While states wanted to enact laws to safeguard the integrity of the voting process, many were already walking a narrow line with the federal government on account of their history of past discrimination against African-Americans. They understood that if their laws were challenged, and challenged as being discriminatory, they would surely see them struck down under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The key provision of the Voting Rights Act – Title IV – identified nine Southern States along with specific districts in other states (including almost all of the districts in NC) as having a history of intentional discriminating against African-Americans and disenfranchising them in their right to vote. Consequently, these states and districts were required to submit their voting laws and voting practices, including voter ID laws, redistricting, and even the moving of polling locations with the US Justice Department for pre-clearance. In other words, if the US DOJ found that any voting law, redistricting plan, or movement of polling location evidenced a plan to discriminate against African-Americans, then the law or plan would be struck down under Title IV.
But in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down Title IV in the case Shelby v. Holder as being outdated. In writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts relied on data which showed that the US government was using outdated information, going back over 40 years, to continue to claim racial discrimination in those states. Roberts wrote that the system is based on “40-year-old facts that have no logical relationship to the present day.” He continued by writing that the government can no longer continue singling out certain states by relying on the past.
The Court argued that an extraordinary corrective is no longer needed when the problem ceases to exist.
In writing the decision, Chief Justice Roberts also relied on comparison data to show that when the Voting Rights Act was enacted, only 6% of African-Americans were registered to vote in Mississippi, a state noted for its civil rights violations. In the 2004 election, African-American voter registration was 76% in Mississippi, almost four percentage points higher than the white registration rate. In the 2012 election, Chief Justice Roberts wrote: “African-American voter turn-out exceeded white voter turn-out in five of the six states covered by the pre-clearance requirement.” With Title IV invalidated, the meat of the Voting Rights Act is gone. Title V is really meaningless without Title IV, and many lawyers believe that it will be struck down soon as well.
“The Selma of 1965 and the Selma of 2016 are very different places. When it comes to the franchise, this is in no small part because the Voting Rights Act did what it was supposed to do: namely, eliminate the scurrilous “tests and devices” (such as literacy tests) used to keep certain groups of voters from the ballot box. Liberals should be cheering the fact that we are no longer in need of the most aggressive provisions of the Voting Rights Act.” [“North Carolina’s Voter ID Law Should be Restored,” The National Review, 2016]
THE NC VOTER ID LAW –
In 2010, the North Carolina witnessed a historic election for its state government. For the first time since the 1800’s, the people of the state elected a Republican majority. One of the popular mandates of that election was that the newly-elected representatives would deliver on a promise to enact a common-sense Voter ID law to ensure voter integrity. For years, it appeared that the legislature was stalling on its promise.
What the legislature was doing was trying to draft a law that would survive Title IV scrutiny. It was consulting with attorneys to navigate the area of Voter ID laws and the Voting Rights Act.
But after the 2013 Shelby decision, the NC legislature decided to alter its earlier voter law to make it harder to commit voter fraud or to engage in any improper voting schemes. North Carolina took very seriously the constitutional standard of “One Person, One Vote.” And so, in 2013, the legislature enacted HB 589, the NC Voter ID law. It essentially altered the state’s earlier voting law by adding a photo ID requirement and five provisions which either restrict the early voting period or restrict registration. The law was considered a “strict” voter ID law.
Under the NC Voter ID law, every person voting in person must present a photo identification, except for a registered voter voting curbside (other options for identification are available) and for a registered voter who has a sincerely held religious objection to being photographed (that person must have filed a declaration with the local Board of Elections at least 25 days before the election]. The original law (2013) provided that any voter who did not comply with the photo ID requirement would be permitted to vote by provisional ballot but that vote would not count unless that person showed up in person at the Board of Elections office by noon on the day prior to the convening of the election canvassing with a valid ID. (The ID requirement would end up being softened, as will soon be explained).
Now, after the Shelby decision and after having lawyers review the language of its Voter ID law to make sure it passes constitutional muster, the NC legislators were pretty confident that they had enacted something that would bring honesty and integrity back to the state’s voting process. They had done their due diligence. A voter ID requirement in fact had been upheld by the US Supreme Court as a reasonable limitation on a person’s exercise of voting rights.
In 2005, Indiana passed a strict Voter ID law. It was the most restrictive voter law at the time. The strict photo identification requirement in order to cast a vote was challenged as being an unreasonable burden on the right to vote and that challenge made its way to the Supreme Court in 2008. [Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, (2008)]. Civil rights groups (including ACORN), the Women’s League of Voters, and other groups filed amici briefs challenging the constitutionality of the ID requirement. After concluding that no voter would conceivably be precluded from voting under the law, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the photo ID requirement, finding it closely related to Indiana’s legitimate state interest in preventing voter fraud, modernizing elections, and safeguarding voter confidence.
Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the majority opinion, stated that the burdens placed on voters are limited to a small percentage of the population and were offset by the state’s interest in reducing fraud. He opined: “Because Indiana’s cards are free, the inconvenience of going to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gathering required documents, and posing for a photograph does not qualify as a substantial burden on most voters’ right to vote, or represent a significant increase over the usual burdens of voting. The severity of the somewhat heavier burden that may be placed on a limited number of persons-e.g., elderly persons born out-of-state, who may have difficulty obtaining a birth certificate-is mitigated by the fact that eligible voters without photo identification may cast provisional ballots that will be counted if they execute the required affidavit at the circuit court clerk’s office. Even assuming that the burden may not be justified as to a few voters, that conclusion is by no means sufficient to establish petitioners’ right to the relief they seek.”
Justice Scalia wrote separately in a concurring opinion: “The law should be upheld because the overall burden is minimal and justified.” He went on to state that the Supreme Court should defer to state and local legislators and that the Supreme Court should not get involved in local election law cases, which would do nothing but encourage more litigation. “It is for state legislatures to weigh the costs and benefits of possible changes to their election codes, and their judgment must prevail unless it imposes a severe and unjustified overall burden upon the right to vote, or is intended to disadvantage a particular class,” he wrote.
In addition to the challenge that the strict ID requirement was an unreasonable burden on the right to vote, civil rights groups alleged that the requirement benefited Republicans and harmed Democrats at the ballot box (because Democrats include more poor people and minorities). Justice Stevens, joined by Justices Scalia and Kennedy, disregarded that argument and wrote: “The justifications for the law should not be disregarded simply because partisan interests may have provided one motivation for the votes of individual legislators.”
What exactly does the Indiana Voter ID law require of each voter when he or she shows up to vote? This is important because according to the Supreme Court, the ID requirement is NOT an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote. The Supreme Court did not say it was not an unreasonable limitation on the right to vote for a WHITE person. The Court held that the limitation was not an unreasonable limitation on any person’s right to vote.
Under the Indiana Voter ID law, voters MUST have a specific form of ID in order to vote. The ID must be issued by the state of Indiana or the U.S. government and must show the following:
• Name of individual to whom it was issued, which must conform to the individual’s registration record
• Photo of the person to whom it was issued
• Expiration date (if it is expired, it must have an expiration date after the most recent general election; military IDs are exempted from the requirement that ID bear an expiration date)
Voters in Indiana who are unable to or decline to produce such an identification may vote a provisional ballot. The ballot is counted only if: (1) the voter returns to the election board by noon on the Monday after the election and: (A) produces proof of identification; or (B) executes an affidavit stating that the voter cannot obtain proof of identification, because the voter: (i) is indigent; or (ii) has a religious objection to being photographed; and (2) the voter has not been challenged or required to vote a provisional ballot for any other reason. [Indiana statute §3-5-2-40.5, 3-10-1-7.2 and 3-11-8-25.1]
It should be noted that Indiana is racked with voter fraud. Just last week, on October 6, a massive voter fraud scheme was discovered. Democrats and unions were found to be paying people to go vote in Illinois. [And Democrats, minorities, the US DOJ, and the federal courts still like to insist that voter fraud is imaginary and unsubstantiated].
In 2014-2015, the NC chapter of the NAACP, other civil rights groups, and the US Department of Justice challenged the NC Voter ID law (HB 589) as being discriminatory against African-Americans. The challengers alleged that the NC legislature (Republican majority) selectively chose voter-ID requirements, reduced the number of early-voting days, and changed registration procedures in ways meant to harm blacks, who overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic Party. The specific provisions that were challenged were:
(i) Photo ID
(ii) Elimination of the first week of Early Voting (cutting down the total number of early voting days from 16 to 10)
(iii) Elimination of one of the two Sunday voting days (“Souls to the Polls”)
(iv) Elimination of Same-day registration
(v) Elimination of provisional votes (including out-of-precinct votes)
(vi) Elimination of Pre-registration (permitting 16 and 17-yr-olds, when obtaining a driver’s license, to indicate their intent to vote)
In anticipation of the lawsuit and almost on the eve of the start of the trial (federal district court, Winston-Salem), the legislature met in session to quickly amend the strict ID requirement. The Voter ID bill was amended it to provide more relaxed options to those who show up to vote without a photo ID. Under the amended NC Voter ID law, voters who lack a photo ID (those who claim they cannot obtain one) would be able to cast a ballot after providing their birthdates, the last four digits of their Social Security number, and an affidavit stating that there is a “reasonable impediment” to their ability to present a photo ID. As a result of the “relaxed” ID requirement, the NC voter ID law was reclassified as a “non-strict” voter ID law.
The trial, which began in July 2015 and concluded in January 2016 (the provisions were addressed in two separate phases) vindicated the NC General Assembly. The federal district court upheld the provisions, including the relaxed photo ID requirement. Although Reverend Barber characterized the bill as a return to Jim Crow, Judge Schroeder did not agree. He sided with the position advanced by Governor Pat McCrory: “The history of North Carolina is not on trial here.” Judge Thomas Schroeder wrote: “There is significant, shameful past discrimination. In North Carolina’s recent history, however, certainly for the last quarter century, there has been little official discrimination to consider.”
In upholding the NC Voter ID bill, Judge Schroeder wrote: “North Carolina has addressed legitimate state interests with its voter identification requirement and electoral system. The provisions of the bill are consistent with the mainstream of other states.”
Barber, the US Department of Justice, other civil rights groups, and other appellants quickly filed an appeal to the US District Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit (which covers appeals from district courts in NC, SC, VA, MD, and WV, and is situated in Richmond, VA). They continued their racial claim against the NC legislature, alleging that by eliminating tools that make it easier for everyone to vote, they really did so to harm African-Americans in their ability to get out to vote since those tools particularly benefitted that minority group. This past July, the 4th Circuit reversed the decision of the lower federal court, sided with the civil rights groups, and struck down all the provisions that were challenged.
The Supreme Court, the highest federal court of the land, upheld a strict Photo ID law (strict photo ID requirement to vote) in Indiana, concluding that it was not an unreasonable limitation or burden on the right to vote. North Carolina’s Voter ID law, however, which is a “non-strict Photo ID” law, was struck down by the same federal court system. I don’t understand.
In fact, the federal courts are all over the place with respect to strict voter identification laws. (Which makes it very likely that the Supreme Court will have to agree to hear another such case). While the Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot single states out based on its prior history of discrimination, the federal courts are continuing to do just that. The official proclamations say one thing but in practice, the justices continue as if the Shelby decision was never handed down. For example, on March 23, 2015, the US Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Wisconsin’s strict voter ID law. Wisconsin’s law absolutely requires that a photo identification be shown before a voter is allowed to cast a ballot. The law is now in effect. In 2011, Texas’ strict photo ID provision was struck down as violating the Voting Rights Act and Arkansas’s strict voter ID law was struck down as well.
DECISION OF THE 4th CIRCUIT —
The US Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals represent the federal appellate court system. There are 12 such Courts of Appeals to serve the 12 federal appellate jurisdictions (aka, 12 federal circuits). North Carolina is covered by 4th Circuit. Appellate courts do not hear a case in the first instance; that is, they are not the trial court and do not listen to or sift through the evidence. Instead, they hear a case on appeal, addressing errors of law (specifically, errors in the application of law to the facts). An appeal to a Circuit Court of Appeals is heard by a panel of 3 judges. And an opinion is issued by either 2 or 3 of those judges. That’s it. Agreement among 2 or 3 judges… that’s what constitutes a judicial “opinion” by the federal judiciary at the appellate level. In most instances, since the Supreme Court will only agree to review a very small fraction of their opinions, the opinion of this judicial “majority” will be the law of the land for the particular judicial district. I find this astounding and frankly, I find it disturbing and unacceptable.
While the district court heard the evidence and weighed the legitimate interests of the state versus the possible burden to African-American voters, and concluded that law was a reasonable exercise of legislative power and discretion and in fact, was consistent with other laws which have been upheld by higher courts. A different court, the 4th Circuit, concluded just the opposite. It completely dismissed the legitimate state interests (in addressing voter fraud), accused the legislature of using voter fraud as a mere pretext for intentionally targeting African-Americans and making it harder for them to get out and vote. Two different courts, two radically different conclusions. One listened to testimony and addressed the evidence first hand, the other did not. One was willing to defer to the wisdom and judgement of a legislature duly elected by the people of the state who, with their votes, sent a mandate for voter reform. The other was too willing to dismiss that wisdom and judgement and substitute its own.
What this sounds like to me is a case of different judges bringing different politics and different ideology to the bench and using them to guide their decision rather than simple rules of statutory and constitutional construction.
The opinion of the 4th Circuit, to say the very least, was a very disturbing one. In my opinion, in the 21st century, there is no place for an opinion as racially charged as this one. There has been absolutely no evidence that there is any de jure discrimination against African-Americans in the state of North Carolina to warrant such accusations.
Let’s consider just how insane the opinion of the 4th Circuit is. First of all, in writing the opinion for the court, Judge Motz concluded: “After years of preclearance [that would be Title V of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, passed to remedy the effects of Jim Crow and the poll taxes and literacy tests that were used in certain southern states to keep African-Americans away from the polls], by 2013 African-Americans were poised to act as a major electoral force. [The fact that an African-American was running for president was a major factor in energizing them to vote; this was not mentioned by the Court]. But, on the day after the Supreme Court issued Shelby County v. Holder, 133 S. Ct. 2612 (2103), eliminating pre-clearance obligations[striking down Title IV], a leader of the party that newly-dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African-American support) announced an intention to enact what he characterized as an omnibus election law. [The Court was not correct here. The Republicans have dominated the legislature since 2008, when an election mandate sent a clear message that Democratic policies were no longer to be tolerated. Furthermore, the Republican Party has long been the political party that has enjoyed African-American support; in fact, from 1860-1964, the Republican Party has been the ONLY party to recognize and fight for the civil rights of African-Americans]. Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices. Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African-Americans. In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications. [The court did not consider voter fraud to be a legitimate justification and in fact, the trial court before it heard no evidence of the enormity of actual voter fraud here in our state]. Although the new provisions target African-Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist. [Again, the court substituting its judgement and its knowledge of what goes on here in NC, not believing that voter fraud is a legitimate problem]. Thus, the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation. In essence, the State took away minority voters’ opportunity because they were about to exercise it. This bears the mark of intentional discrimination.”
** Note that the opinion is in italics. MY comments are added in brackets and are highlighted.
The OPINION of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals states, in spirit and effect, that African-Americans are entitled to special guarantees when it comes to their exercise of the right to vote. It states that while restrictions and limitations are indeed allowable and even constitutional, and while they are not an unreasonable burden to white Americans or even to Hispanic Americans, they are not permissible for African-Americans. That is exactly what the decision states. By holding one race to lower standards of compliance, I would venture to say that the opinion is racist. And by implying that a State MUST hold that race to lower standards, it is forcing racism in its law-making. What the decision also states, and what I find also extremely disturbing, is that while the legislature has a legitimate and important state interest at hand and is willing to enact a neutral piece of legislation to address it, just because a group of justices can be convinced by a minority group that it was enacted with an intent to discriminate, the justices puts the opinion of the majority group over the legitimate interests of a state governing body. In other words, the justices can willy-nilly substitute their opinion for the collective decision of a duly-enacted state legislature, vested with the right and authority to legislate on the very issue.
The court’s legal reasoning is not exactly sound. The notion that rolling back same-day registration or shortening early-voting periods is unconstitutional is absolutely absurd. Early voting began in 1988, and thirteen states still do not have it, while same-day registration is still not available in some three dozen states. Are all of these jurisdictions in violation of the Constitution? In North Carolina, citizens – ALL citizens – were only given one day to vote… Election Day until the late 1990’s. Was North Carolina violating the Constitution?
I find it interesting that as the 4th Circuit addressed the photo ID provision of the NC Voter ID law, the judges ended up engaging in their own racial stereotyping of African-Americans. Actually, they merely endorsed the inherent racial stereotyping of Reverend Barber, the NC NAACP, other civil rights groups, and even the US Justice Department. It was the testimony of Justice Department officials who explained that “black voters would be hurt by North Carolina’s law” because they are “less sophisticated” than their white counterparts. There was no mention by these civil rights groups, or the US DOJ or the 4th Circuit, as to whether the “unsophistication” also prevents them from taking advantage of the provisions whereby the state provides a free ID to anyone who doesn’t already have one AND that citizens can still vote even without an ID if they sign a form at the polling place asserting that there was a “reasonable impediment” that kept them from getting the free ID.
Indiana’s ID requirement, stricter than North Carolina’s, was upheld as reasonable. And an almost identical ID law in South Carolina with the “reasonable impediment” exception was upheld as non-discriminatory by a three-judge federal court in 2013. Georgia’s Voter ID law was upheld in 2008 and a challenge to Indiana’s law failed. Without a doubt, there is strong and broad popular support for voter-ID laws (except by the Democratic establishment). A 2012 Washington Post poll recorded support among nearly two-thirds of blacks and Latinos. In June 2015, 76% of respondents, including 58% of self-identified Democrats, supported voter-ID laws.
Why does race continue to frustrate common-sense legislation?
As the National Review wrote: “The Fourth Circuit went out of its way to ignore evidence, impugn the motives of North Carolina’s legislature, and concoct specious legal rationales to forward a political agenda.”
Nowhere does the Constitution say that African-Americans are ENTITLED to a DIFFERENT set of standards, are ENTITLED to AN EXTRA WEEK of Early Voting, or are ENTITLED to SUNDAY VOTING. These are just SOME of the provisions of the NC Voter ID Law that the 4th Circuit held to be intentionally discriminatory against African-Americans. The 4th Circuit held that the Voter ID law evidences an INTENTIONAL DESIGN and an DISCRIMINATORY INTENT by the North Carolina legislature to deny African-Americans their right to vote, likening them to the Southern Democrats of the 1860’s thru the 1960’s who used poll taxes, literacy tests, scare tactics, and force to prevent African-Americans from voting. If I were the NC legislature, I would sue the 4th Circuit for slander and libel. The Voter ID law passed in Indiana was a “strict photo ID” law (stricter than North Carolina’s law) and it went before the Supreme Court in 2008. In an opinion authored by the most liberal member of the Court at the time, the Supreme Court found that a Photo ID requirement was NOT AN UNDUE BURDEN to ANY citizen. In fact, just a few years earlier, a federal government committee looking into the election process took a number of polls and found that only 31% of Americans had confidence in the integrity of the election process. In other words, 69% of Americans believed that our election process is corrupt and racked with fraud. With that finding, states began enacting voter ID laws, some requiring a photo ID. Indiana was one and so was Texas. it was this law that went to the Supreme Court. LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION – and I wish I could ask this directly to the judges of the 4th Circuit: If a strict Photo ID requirement (in Indiana’s Law) was found by a LIBERAL Supreme Court to be a permissible and constitutional condition on the exercise to vote and found NOT TO BE AN “UNREASONABLE” BURDEN on ANYONE, how is it that a lesser federal court can find that a photo ID requirement in NC’s law, which is not as strict as Indiana’s, is unconstitutional?? How is it that the LIBERAL Supreme Court can find that a strict Photo ID requirement (in Indiana’s Law) is a permissible and constitutional condition on one’s exercise to vote and is NOT an unreasonable burden on ANYONE but a lesser federal court can find that the photo ID requirement in NC’s law, which is not as strict as Indiana’s, is an unreasonable burden on AFRICAN-AMERICANS? No other minority group was found to be burdened.
All this talk is about what provisions African-Americans are specifically entitled in order to secure and protect their right to vote. But where is the talk about the security and protection of everyone’s vote against voter fraud? Shouldn’t a constitution that provides for “One Person, One Vote” also provide for protection of individuals in their right to vote from dilution due to voter fraud?
If there is a legitimate state interest that the law addresses, the mere fact that a minority group can show that it burdens them (which is questionable at most, and highly exaggerated at the very least) should not undermine and invalidate the fact that such an important interest is being served. After all, minority groups (and one in particular) will always claim special circumstances so as to frustrate common-sense laws and cry “discrimination” and most often so when it benefits the agenda of a political party. For many years, the Democratic Party has been able to brainwash this group of minorities into believing that it alone will address their concerns. Aside from enlarged welfare and entitlement programs and continuing to convince them that they are victimized by white society and discriminated against in every aspect of society, all of which, in sum total, leaves them believing that they are a disadvantaged class, the Democratic Party has done very little for these individuals. Most live in “comfortable poverty,” live in inner-cities or poor areas of town, find it increasingly difficult to find jobs (in part because they opt for welfare, choose to treat education lightly, have children outside of wedlock, or because the Democratic Party encourages open immigration of Hispanics who eagerly work but work jobs that take away most of the opportunities for African-Americans), and suffer from the effects of an ever-growing erosion of the black family. All these realities for the “disadvantaged” African-American have been created by years and years of Democratic law-making and policy-making.
This particular minority group alleges many reasons why it is different from other groups and other members of society… its members are poorer, less educated, have weaker family structure, poorer health, heavier and less able to move, less likely to have cars to get around, more illiterate, and the list goes on and on. With a list like that, how can any law not be disparately burdensome to them.
A photo ID is too burdensome for African-Americans, according to agents (judges) of the federal government. In fact, it rises to the level of outright discrimination. As the court explained, it’s just too hard for African-Americans to get the most common kind of photo ID – the one issued by the DMV. “African-Americans disproportionately lack the most common kind of photo ID… They are disproportionately likely to move, be poor, be less-educated, have less access to transportation, and experience poor health.” Yet it appears that in order to collect a check when you are poor and to pick up medication at the pharmacy, one needs a photo ID. At least, I’ve always been required to show an ID to cash a check, write a check, and to pick up medication for myself or any of my children. According to the court’s reasoning, the mere fact that such a requirement is included in a law, knowing that African-Americans are so lacking in several key areas of functionality in society, automatically makes that provision an act of intentional discrimination against them.
Hence, we’re back to two sets of standards; One set of provisions applies just fine to every person in the North Carolina, except African-Americans. And a different set of provisions applies to African-Americans. Hmmmm, sounds like we are back to Jim Crow, except that now it’s sponsored by the federal government. And while the first era was motivated by the Democrats and Southern Democrats believe that blacks are inherently inferior to whites and shouldn’t co-mingle, the current era is motivated by the government’s belief that blacks are less capable of doing for themselves and functioning in society at the same level as other races. It’s intentional racism either way.
So I guess it means that African-Americans don’t need a photo ID to collect a welfare check. That’s just too discriminatory. Let the rampant welfare fraud ensue. At that point, I will willfully withhold my federal income tax and encourage others to do so as well. Because I work hard for my paycheck, I at least make sure to spend my money carefully and take precautions against identify fraud. I guess African-Americans don’t need a photo ID to get a gun. That’s just too discriminatory. Already, too many guns are landing in the hands of African-Americans unlawfully. Nationally, blacks commit shootings at a rate of 11% more than whites. In New York City, blacks make up 23% of the population and whites makes up 33% of the population, yet blacks commit 75% of the shootings while whites commit only 3%. If blacks were represented at 33% of the population in NYC, like whites, then they would account for 107.6% of shootings. That would mean that in NYC, blacks commit 35 times as many shootings as whites. Across the East River from Manhattan (NYC), in Brooklyn, there are two neighboring communities. There is the predominantly black community of Brownsville and the predominantly white and Asian community of Bay Ridge. There are 81% more shootings in Brownsville than Bay Ridge. [Bill Whittle discusses the facts obscured by the Black Lives Matter movement – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004657054354&fref=ts%5D
Can you imagine if we applied the same standard and same rationale to gun purchases as our courts are applying to the NC photo ID requirement in its Voter ID law – that is, that it is discriminatory to require blacks to show a photo ID when applying for and purchasing a gun? Would that be insanity? But you can’t hold one standard for voting and another for requiring a photo ID for the exercise of any other right or privilege of citizenship in the United States.
Again, a “strict” photo ID requirement was challenged in the Indiana Voter ID law as an undue burden and an unreasonable restriction on the right to vote and the US Supreme Court said NO IT’S NOT! The NC ID law, which is less stringent than the Indiana law and is more relaxed than the Indiana law when it comes to those persons who can’t get a photo ID was challenged as “Racist.” And because it was challenged as Racist rather than Burdensome, apparently the federal court used a different standard. What is “reasonable and not an undue burden” to all citizens in Indiana (including blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc), apparently is a burden only to African-Americans in North Carolina. It makes no sense at all. Truly, the term “racism” obscures the real meaning of the one term that blacks valued so much in the past — “Equal Protection.” Racism now is a term used to get “special” treatment and “special” protection. It’s a mockery of our Constitution and our laws.
The assertion that really enraged me in the opinion was when Judge Motz wrote: “The asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation. In essence, the State took away minority voters’ opportunity because they were about to exercise it. This bears the mark of intentional discrimination.”
Judge Motz talked about intentional discrimination, but what he was really outraged about was the fact that the restrictions might (and no one actually believes it will happen) prevent African-Americans from turning out at the polls to support the Democratic Party. The panel was concerned that the Democratic Party might somehow be harmed by the Voter ID bill – not that African-Americans are somehow overly burdened by its provisions. That’s why the panel talked about the legislature in terms of a political party (“the party that newly-dominated the legislature (and the party that rarely enjoyed African-American support”) and then talked about African-Americans in terms of a political party (acknowledging that they don’t support the party that newly-dominates the legislature). Because politics is really the motivation behind the 4th Circuit’s opinion, and because the judges ignored legal precedent (the Crawford v. Marion County decision), the opinion should be ignored. Moreso, the Supreme Court should have noticed this error and agreed to reverse the decision. The part of the Crawford opinion I am referring to, of course, is this statement: “The justifications for the law should not be disregarded simply because partisan interests may have provided one motivation for the votes of individual legislators.” This statement was the joint opinion of both liberal and conservative members of the Supreme Court – Stevens, being a strong liberal, and Scalia, being a strong conservative.
The opinion of the 4th Circuit is extremely troubling for another reason, and I touched on it earlier. The federal judiciary – again, a branch of the federal government – is clearly attempting to influence and burden states (and particularly those who had discriminated against African-Americans in their right to vote many, many years ago and which, according to the Supreme Court in Shelby v. Holder, 2013, were no longer to be prejudiced or bound by past discrimination in the eyes of government or the courts) by telling them that they MUST enlarge opportunities for African-Americans to exercise their right to vote. It is a very racial decision. Against the judgment of the Supreme Court, courts like the 4th Circuit appear to continue with the automatic presumption that the South continues to racially discriminate and that it is their job, and the job of the federal government, to sift through their laws, pull away the veil of equal-treatment, and find the embedded racism. And since when does the federal government have the authority to dictate how States should conduct their affairs under their traditional police powers (powers reserved under the Tenth Amendment)? Repeatedly, the Supreme Court has said the government cannot do so.
With the opinion by Judge Motz, we are left with the question, which is a very constitutional one: “What are voters actually entitled to when it comes to early voting and opportunities to register?” And what are African-Americans specifically entitled to, above and beyond what are offered to persons of other races?
The States and We the People ourselves must free ourselves from the mindset that federal judges have the absolute wisdom and integrity to declare what the law is and interpret what the Constitution means. Two or three ambitious, “politically-appointed” and “politically-motivated” judges do NOT authoritatively say what the law is. THE CONSTITUTION ITSELF DEFINES WHAT THE LAW. And judges and the federal government cannot twist, mis-interpret, re-interpret, or ignore what it says. States are sovereign equivalents to the federal government, if not superior. Indeed, in most aspects of law-making, they have reserved powers which are beyond the reach of the federal government and are to be respected by the federal government. Yet, the federal government has a monopoly over the meaning, intent, and scope of the US Constitution and the scope of its powers – the powers belonging to all branches. Nowhere in that monopoly are the States represented as sovereigns. As mentioned earlier, the 17th amendment changed the election of Senators andMarbury v. Madison perfected the federal monopoly by vesting unconstitutional powers with the Supreme Court over interpretation and enforcement. The federal judiciary looks out only for the federal government so let’s not pretend that it is an impartial arbiter or umpire for the States. The States have no such umpire or agent at the judicial level – the final leg of the federal monopoly.
Federalism is dead until and unless the States decide that the doctrine must be revived and is important enough to be revived.
FINAL THOUGHTS –
For several years, the South indeed engaged in efforts to prevent freed blacks from voting. And the South paid dearly for that history. Because of that history, the federal government and the courts, through legislation and judicial decisions, adopted an automatic presumption that such States were engaging in actual discrimination and discriminatory intent. The scrutiny seemed reasonable in light of the history of abuse. In our current time, there is no discrimination in the right to vote (and certainly no state is required to go above and beyond to give every conceivable opportunity to vote). But what there is is a history of voter fraud, dubious and illegal get-out-the-vote initiatives, and voting schemes that is almost exclusively associated with the Democratic Party. In the weighing of interests when it comes to elections and election/voting integrity, the real presumption that should guide voter laws, government policy, and federal court judges is the one tending towards fraud and dishonesty, and the undermining of the principle “One Person, One Vote.”
In fact, I would go one step further… Rather than a government commission merely advising that States adopt voter identification laws, the government should ENCOURAGE them to do so. And when they pass such laws, the state legislature should be given the presumption that they were passed to counter potential voter fraud. I liken the Democrats’ attempts over the many years (through political collusion, union activity, mob activity, and questionable community-organizing groups such as ACORN) to elude, evade, ignore the voting laws on the books of the United States and in the several states to the attempts of the Southern Democrats many years ago to disenfranchise blacks by attempts to frustrate school segregation. Just as the conduct of Southern Democrats evidenced a deeply-entrenched scheme to disenfranchise blacks and to frustrate the policy of segregation by the Supreme Court (Brown v. Board of Education) and HAD TO BE REMEDIED by policies of affirmative action, racial quotas, bussing, and court-mandated redistricting plans (lasting over 50 years), I would argue that the schemes of the Democratic Party over the past many years have also evidenced such a deeply-entrenched and organized scheme to break the law and to violate the cherished standard of “One Person, One Vote” for citizens of the United States (as articulated by the US Constitution) to actually REQUIRE such a presumption in Voter ID laws.
The reality is, despite the claims of the left, racism is a thing of the past and voter fraud is the new form of discrimination. This is not an allegation but a reality. The Supreme Court could not find any claim of merit that a photo identification burdens an African-American under when a voter law provides an alternative for those who cannot obtain one (as North Carolina’s law does, and as Indiana’s law, the strictest in the nation, does). Yet day after day, year after year, we learn about documented and prosecutable cases of voter fraud. Ask former GOP senator Norm Coleman, whose 725-vote lead over Democratic challenger Al Franken in 2010 turned into a 312-vote victory for Franken — thanks in part to 1,099 votes cast by ineligible felons. In 2015, Philadelphia election judges arrested four electoral judges for casting fraudulent votes. Fake signatures helped place Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on Indiana’s primary ballot in 2008. Incidents such as these are why lawmakers in more than 30 states have now enacted laws to protect the integrity of their elections. John F. Kennedy won the 1960 election on account of voter fraud, for crying out loud! Have we forgotten that?
In the words of James O’Keefe, founder of the Veritas Project, “Democrats will do anything they possibly can to skirt and break the law until they are caught.” As his organization has proven time and time again, by going into Democrat-controlled polling locations and interfacing with Democratic “get out the vote” initiatives
This election cycle, we have a presidential candidate who is who using unprecedented tools in order to steal the election. She is using arrogance and intimidation, shady back-door deals, illegal slush-funds, and tactics of voter fraud. She has colluded with enforcement agencies at the highest levels of government to evade prosecution for her lawless conduct and is currently colluding with the vast left-wing conspiracy known as the liberal media to essentially conduct her campaign why demonizing her opponent. The media shares with the American people only what it wants them to hear (pro-Clinton) while suppressing what it doesn’t want them to hear (the truth).
The NC General Assembly merely anticipated the fraud that would accompany this extremely important presidential election and enacted a common-sense Voter ID bill – a bill that the overwhelming numbers of NC voters demanded of their representatives.
Democracy is our greatest strength. It gives us the opportunity to have government work FOR us and to alter it when it works AGAINST us. And the constitutional principle of ‘one person, one vote’ has always been a vehicle for Americans to hold their government accountable, and ensure it is responsive to the challenges we face as a nation.
To conclude, I’d like to remind the reader of the options that our Governor, Pat McCrory, and our state legislature can take to provide reasonable and common-sense measures at polling places next month. These options are bold, for sure. And each option will allow us to get around the decision of the 4th Circuit… the dictates of a group of three progressive judges. But what is at stake is the integrity and fairness of the voting process here in our state and our rightful expectation of such. The constitutional bright-line rule of “One Person, One Vote” cannot be undermined. We already know that we can expect voter fraud (and some predict an extensive amount of it) because of the fact that our state is a key battleground state. It would be unconscionable to surrender our electoral votes on account of fraud simply because three judges refused to reject the outdated presumption that NC discriminates against its African-American citizens. Again, the seven options I am suggesting include: (1) Call the state legislature into an emergency session the week before early voting begins and pass another Voter ID law (making minor changes but still keeping the spirit of the law intact – requiring reliable identification to vote); (2) Ignore the opinion of the 4th Circuit, asserting that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal (just as the federal district court lacked jurisdiction to hear it), citing Article III, Section 2, paragraph 2 of the US Constitution as legal authority; (3) Ignore the OPINION of the 4th Circuit citing just that… it is only an opinion” and the state, in its equal ability to interpret the Constitution, does not agree; (4) Claim that the opinion directly calls each of the state legislators a “racist,” defames them as individuals and as a political and must be rejected as libelous and therefore illegal; (5) Claim that the opinion offends traditional notions of States Rights and under the Tenth Amendment, the state has the right and duty to defend its sphere of legitimate governing power, which includes common-sense voting laws; (6) Claim that the opinion is a clear violation of the Separation of Powers because the Court went out of its way to substitute its judicial opinion for the legislature’s rightful opinion as lawmakers and therefore illegitimate and unenforceable; or (7) Governor Pat McCrory should issue an Executive Order to all Boards of Election instructing them that a reliable identification is REQUIRED of all persons who show up to vote (and whoever cannot produce one must then-and-there, sign an affidavit and submit to having his or her photo taken).
NC Voter ID Law (HB 589), passed April 2013 – http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2013/Bills/House/HTML/H589v7.html
NC Voter ID modifications (HB 836), passed June 2015 – http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/House/PDF/H836v6.pdf (see pp. 5-11). Provides relaxed impediments for persons who do not comply with the photo ID requirement of HB 589. Any person who does not have a photo identification will be permitted to vote a provisional ballot (to be counted according to GS 163-182.1A). A person also can fill out a reasonable impediment declaration and vote a provisional ballot (to be counted according to GS 163-182.1B).
Opinion of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (NAACP v. McCrory, 2016): http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/litigation/documents/Opinion72916.pdf
SilenceDoGood, Sept. 1, 2016. https://silencedogood2010.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/nc-can-enforce-its-voter-id-law/
Indiana Voter ID Law – http://www.in.gov/sos/elections/2401.htm
Indiana Voter ID law, Indiana Government, Indiana Election Division – http://www.in.gov/sos/elections/2401.htm
Voter Identification Requirements – Voter ID Laws, ACSL (American Conference of State Legislatures), August 31, 2016. Referenced at: http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx
Josh Siegel, “After Voter ID Defeats, Lessons From Indiana’s Law That ‘Has Stood Test of Time,’ The Daily Signal, August 7, 2016. Referenced at: http://dailysignal.com/2016/08/07/after-voter-id-defeats-lessons-from-indianas-law-that-has-stood-test-of-time/
Bill Whittle discusses the Myths perpetrated by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004657054354&fref=ts
Section 4 (Title IV) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – https://www.justice.gov/crt/section-4-voting-rights-act
Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – https://www.justice.gov/crt/section-4-voting-rights-act
List of counties in North Carolina originally identified in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act and subject to the preclearance requirements of Section 5 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_jurisdictions_subject_to_the_special_provisions_of_the_Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965
Section 5 (Title V) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – https://www.justice.gov/crt/about-section-5-voting-rights-act
Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008). https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-21.pdf
John C. Fortier, “Absentee and Early Voting,” AEI Press, June 2014. Referenced at: https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/-absentee-and-early-voting_155531845547.pdf
“North Carolina’s Voter ID Law Should be Restored,” The National Review, August 9, 2016. Referenced at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/438810/north-carolina-voter-id-law-should-be-restored
Massive Voter Fraud in NY – http://louderwithcrowder.com/voter-fraud-nyc-democratic-election-commissioner/
Voter Fraud (“Clinton Campaign: Whatever You Can Get Away With.. Just Do It!”) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhI6bMbhsDE&feature=player_embedded
Voter Fraud Bombshell in NYC – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4XK8DGeWgU
Clinton Staffer on Tape Discussing Voter Fraud – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=167TgR5_DY4
Clinton Voter Fraud in Florida – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To1dp40LAu8
Thousands of Fraudulent Voter Ballots Marked for Hillary Clinton – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8on9JJLoU8
Largest Voter Fraud Investigation in Texas – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjbgJ7hLLRY
Indiana Voter Fraud Scheme investigation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNtJn3BJbg4
Voter Fraud in NC (thousands voted more than once in 2012, voting in NC and in at least one other state) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pUxFoNlI04
Evidence of Voter Fraud (scheme to dump thousands of ballots pre-marked for Hillary Clinton) on Election Day – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkSg7DSkyjs
A. PROPOSED EXECUTIVE ORDER
[Drafted by Bart Goswick and referenced at: SilenceDoGood, Sept. 1, 2016. https://silencedogood2010.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/nc-can-enforce-its-voter-id-law/
Proposed Executive Order
From the Office of the Governor of the Great State of North Carolina – For Immediate Release
EXECUTIVE ORDER No. _____WHEREAS, the U.S. Constitution plainly states that the federal judiciary has certain limitations on what it can, and cannot do. Article III, Section 2, Clause 2 states that any case in which a ‘State’, or any of its ‘Public Ministers’ is a party, the Supreme Court shall have ‘ORIGINAL JURISDICTION.’
“In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have ORIGINAL Jurisdiction.”
WHEREAS, The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has clearly overstepped their authority, henceforth the North Carolina State Board of Elections, and all related agencies, shall consider this opinion by the court, issued on July 29, 2016, to be Null & Void. [http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Published/161468.P.pdf]
WHEREAS, The North Carolina Constitution, Article III, Section 5, Clause 10 states;
“…the Governor may make such changes in the allocation of offices and agencies and in the allocation of those functions, powers, and duties as he considers necessary for efficient administration. If those changes affect existing law, they shall be set forth in executive orders, …”
NOW, THEREFORE, by the power vested in me as Governor by the Constitution and laws of North Carolina, IT IS ORDERED:
The Great State of North Carolina will proceed with our November 2016 general elections according to the provisions and procedures defined in SESSION LAW 2013-381, aka “Voter Information Verification Act” that I signed into law on August 12, 2013. [http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2013/Bills/House/HTML/H589v9.html]
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and affixed the Great Seal of the State of North Carolina at the Capitol in the City of Raleigh, this ___ day of _______ in the year of our Lord two thousand and sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty.
B. COUNTIES (JURISDICTIONS) in NORTH CAROLINA ORIGINALLY IDENTIFIED in SECTION 4(b) of the VOTING RIGHTS ACT FOR THE PRECLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 5 –
(All of the following counties were identified in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, except as noted)
• Anson County
• Beaufort County
• Bertie County
• Bladen County
• Camden County
• Caswell County
• Chowan County
• Cleveland County
• Craven County
• Cumberland County
• Edgecombe County
• Franklin County
• Gaston County
• Gates County
• Granville County
• Greene County
• Guilford County
• Halifax County
• Harnett County
• Hertford County
• Hoke County
• Jackson County (added around 1984)
• Lee County
• Lenoir County
• Martin County
• Nash County
• Northampton County
• Onslow County
• Pasquotank County
• Perquimans County
• Person County
• Pitt County
• Robeson County
• Rockingham County
• Scotland County
• Union County
• Vance County
• Wake County (was bailed out around 1984, by court decision and hence no longer subject to the provision)
• Washington County
• Wayne County
• Wilson County