Reckless Courts, Republican cowardice, a missing Justice Department are the true dangers to our democracy

Reckless Courts, Republican cowardice, a missing Justice Department are the true dangers to our democracy. By Julie Kelly.

Flagrant election cheating in several swing states, it seems, is of no interest to the self-appointed watchdogs of American democracy or even to those specifically tasked with investigating such unlawfulness.

The U.S. Department of Justice, despite its preachy corporate motto, is thus far blind to it. Journalists and professional pundits on both sides of the aisle downplay talk of what has happened as “baseless conspiracy theories” pushed by cult-like Trump loyalists. Most Senate Republicans are eager to move on while ignoring provable instances of voting fraud in their own states and urging the president to concede “for the good of the country.” …

And the entity usually considered the final and most impartial arbiter of injustice in the country — the court system — now, too, is in on the election fix. …

Let’s start with the U.S. Supreme Court. In a terse, unsatisfying two-sentence statement on Friday, the court refused to consider the lawsuit filed December 7 by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, subsequently joined by his colleagues in 19 states as well as 126 Republican congressmen and the Trump campaign.

Constitutional experts lauded the ruling as appropriate and described the Texas lawsuit as “dangerous” and “reckless.” Voters in Texas and other aggrieved states, the legal eagles warned, have no “standing” to challenge how other states administer their elections under the Elector’s Clause established in Article II of the Constitution.

But the notion that one state does not have an “interest” in how another state elects the president of the United States is absurd. Let’s take it a step further: What if Pennsylvania in the future allows noncitizens to vote legally in presidential elections? What if Michigan decides to give people of color two votes to compensate for past election “disenfranchisement?” What if Wisconsin allows people under the age of 18 to vote for president?

Those laws, which seem far-fetched but become closer to reality each election, clearly favor Democrats and would pose an insurmountable hurdle for Republican candidates in swing states. The rest of the country would be held hostage to the power-hungry whims of Democratic politicians and bureaucrats in decisive states. Americans are entitled to a better explanation from the court about how arbitrary election rules don’t in fact violate the 14th Amendment, as the Texas petitioners also charged. …

Administering fair elections with similar laws that honor the Constitution is part of the compact between states; once that deal is off, only the Supreme Court can calibrate the balance.

Further, the Texas lawsuit didn’t challenge the right of states to write their own election laws. The petitioners argued, correctly, that government officials, both elected and unelected, broke the laws.

Read it all for how Wisconsin’s highest court, channeling Bill Clinton, disputed the meaning of the word “address” in order to approve of election workers filling in missing addresses on certification envelopes. Or how the highly partisan Pennsylvania Supreme Court quibbled about the term “observers” in order to render the concept essentially useless. The law is very elastic in the hands of judges who are prepared to reinterpret common words.