The Supreme Court is still on summer vacation, but it made a very disturbing statement Wednesday in the form of denying North Carolina’s request to temporarily block the Fourth Circuit’s ruling against the state’s voter ID law. And when you drill down into the short order issued by the court, it’s quite evident that there is only one justice who fully supports the sovereignty of a state over federal elections.
As part of the nationwide judicial coup d’état against state sovereignty and common sense election integrity laws last month, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that North Carolina cannot enforce its elections laws because the laws were supposedly racist. The “racist” rules put into place? Requirements that voters show some form of government-issued photo ID, the elimination of same-day voter registration, a reduction in early voting from 17 days to 10 days (the horror!), the barring of out-of-precinct voting, and the prevention of minors from pre-registering to vote ?all practices designed to address rampant voter fraud. Just in the past election alone, 514 votes cast through same-day registration were found to be unverified.
Even if one opposes these common sense election methods as a matter of policy, no judge that abides by the plain meaning for the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act could make a legal case that a state must enact Democrat voting anomalies, such as early voting or pre-registration. Yet, the Fourth Circuit, which is created by Congress not the Constitution, reinterpreted the Constitution to crush the states. When North Carolina, represented by Paul Clement, filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court seeking a stay on this decision to prevent voting without a voter ID, seven extra days of early voting, and pre-registration for minors, all four Democrat-appointees denied their request.
Some might suggest that this is proof the Supreme Court hangs in the balance – 4-4 – and that the institution is still salvageable simply by filling Scalia’s seat. However, if you look carefully, only Justice Thomas would have upheld the bar on pre-registration for minors. Given that the court is in recess and the justices didn’t explain their votes, it’s hard to read more into their decision, but this is a big disappointment, especially for Justice Alito. The notion that a state must allow minors to pre-register is insane! There is no middle ground here. When a circuit court undoes simple voting laws of a sovereign state in middle of an ongoing election and GOP-appointed justices would have allowed even one of those provisions to remain invalid makes it clear that true originalism is dead in the federal judiciary. Most states don’t even offer pre-registration of minors and never have since the founding of our country. How could any Supreme Court justice possibly allow a lower court to mandate such absurdity?
Once again, this is the problem with those who are ignoring the constitutional remedy of Congress taking back power from the courts, and instead, focusing exclusively on the phantom pursuit of appointing better judges. The left-wing legal foundations, which control the contours of the lawsuits brought in court, will continue to have an endless supply of lower court judges mandating the most absurd laws on states under the auspices of the Fourteenth Amendment. While most GOP-appointed judges won’t go as far as the Democrat ones, they have already accepted much of the post-constitutional premise.
Sadly, today’s originalist is last generation’s judicial activist.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.