SCOTUS opens up a constitutional can of worms
Have we opened a can of worms, constitutionally speaking?
The highest court in the land ruled that Texas, and the 18 other states that supported its lawsuit, have no standing to seek relief for gross and obvious violations of the U.S. Constitution.
Texas alleged that four swing states blatantly violated the Constitution's Electors Clause by allowing unauthorized politicians and bureaucrats to change election law when the supreme law of the land grants that power exclusively to state legislatures. The Lone Star State also charged that those swing states, which are now determinative in deciding who won the presidency for the entire nation, also violated equal protection under the Constitution's 14thth Amendment by writing rules for some counties within a state that did not apply to other counties. For good measure, Texas said those constitutional violations opened the door to widespread cheating, including illegal voting, unverifiable ballots, ballot box–stuffing, and a host of other crimes backed up by hundreds of sworn affidavits by eyewitnesses and election and computer experts.
But in a decision Friday, the high court dismissively refused even to hear Texas's complaint. Two justices indicated they would hear the case but not give Texas the relief it asked for. Oddly, the decision came after SCOTUS asked defendants Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin to submit responses to Texas's charges. Why bother with responses if the lawsuit was ineligible for the court to even consider?
Fine. Up to a point, we longtime supporters of states' rights sympathize with the logic. Who is Texas to tell Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin which portions of the Constitution they may or may not violate? Let that thought sink in.
If SCOTUS's reasoning is followed to its logical extension, then what about these ramifications?
- If Louisiana decides that it wants to reinstitute human slavery in violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, who are the other 49 states to complain? Why would they have standing to seek relief?
- How about if Alaska decides to limit voting rights to only men in clear violation of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution? What legitimate basis would Nebraska or New York have to complain?
Texas sought protection from electoral harm by invoking an original provision of the Constitution, adopted in 1787. The 13th Amendment outlawing slavery wasn't adopted for another 68 years. And women's suffrage provided by the 19th Amendment was adopted 131 years after the Constitution. Do those Johnny-come-lately amendments deserve different treatment from what the original document they amended gets?
The reflexive explanation for the national court's current inconsistency is that constitutional disputes are not supposed to be hashed out between states. Instead, such disagreements are the purview of the national Department of Justice. According to that reasoning, the federal DOJ may intervene when the Constitution is blatantly violated, as it did to prevent black children from being barred from entering unconstitutionally segregated Southern public schools in the 1950s and 1960s.
So where has the DOJ been amid the revelation of massive fraud in the 2020 election? If you say "silent," you've been paying attention. One might say absent without leave.
Does anyone seriously believe that the DOJ would have shown such a lack of interest if polling places had turned away voters based on their skin color or sex? Why the difference? The cynical explanation may be the best. It's because enforcement of your "rights" boils down to what elite people in positions of authority decide are rights worth defending.
So what are Texas and its like-minded 18 states to do? If they choose to secede as did the original colonies from England in 1776, my guess is that you will find out real fast what the touted Department of Justice considers worth enforcing.
If you think our esteemed authorities will turn a blind eye to serious secession efforts the way they did to blatant violations of the Electors Clause and 14th Amendment in the Texas case, go ahead and try. But something tells me your effort won't get far before it's met with overwhelming opposition from the national government, including its courts.
As I am wont to say at such times, it's a fallen world.
Once again I ask, have we opened a can of worms, constitutionally speaking?
Or, perhaps, have we merely exposed how arbitrarily the United States enforces the rights it claims to recognize for all its people, just as all self-serving authorities have in every civilization from the beginning of time? Yours truly suspects that the second question has become rhetorical.
Mark Landsbaum is a Christian retired journalist, former investigative reporter, editorial writer, and columnist. He also is a husband, father, grandfather, and Dodgers fan. He can be reached at email@example.com.