Shouldn’t we all agree that someone’s citizenship should be verified before he or she casts a vote in our elections?
There is no greater interest of a state than protecting the integrity of its franchise from foreign nationals voting in our elections. Yet repeatedly, the federal courts, which have unconstitutionally crowned themselves king over election law, have prevented states from taking any logical measures to stop non-citizens from voting. With the latest court ruling in Texas, conservatives must ask themselves how much longer they will tolerate this judicial tyranny and how many more elections they are willing to lose as a result of our passive approach to the judicial power grab.
Judges have already prevented states from requiring proof of citizenship on the voter registration forms under the motor-voter process. As such, states like Texas are left with the option of retroactively comparing existing voter rolls to citizenship information. Last month, the Texas secretary of state revealed that approximately 95,000 registered voters’ driver’s license information from the motor vehicle department indicate they submitted non-citizen documents. This is a red flag for voter fraud, because while an unknown number of them might later have become naturalized citizens before voting in our elections, it’s unlikely that all of them have become citizens.
To try to determine their status, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley instructed the county clerks to send out letters to these voters and request them to notify the county government if they indeed have become naturalized.
Isn’t that a reasonable request to protect the interests of the state?
In comes an obnoxious judge, Fred Biery, and rules that the state cannot even inquire about someone’s status “without prior approval of the Court with a conclusive showing that the person is ineligible to vote.” He asserted in the four-page order that “there is no widespread voter fraud” that would warrant this process set forth by the state.
These names are not picked out of a hat. There is a conflict between their DMV records, which indicate they are aliens, and their voter registrations, which should indicate they are citizens. Texas is not automatically purging these voters; it is simply asking these people to update their status. Yet Biery said this is too much of a “burden” on potentially naturalized citizens and will “intimidate the less powerful among us.”
Thus, while no judge has officially said “non-citizens shall vote in our elections,” judges have walled off every logical way for states to prevent them from registering and from voting. Judge Biery’s assertion that Texas’s concern is bogus is simply ludicrous. The threat of non-citizens registered to vote is a prima facie problem.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we have a smoking gun on non-citizens voting. We essentially have an honor system. For voting. To deny that there is even a problem strong enough to warrant a state “burdening” with an inquiring letter people who got driver’s licenses as immigrants is absurd. My wife had to wait in line for four hours at the DMV this week because of the verification requirements holding up the line, yet somehow, we can’t burden people who are registered in the system as non-citizens to protect the franchise of the citizenry.
The problem is that groups like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), flush with cash from the Verizon Foundation, are able to lodge one lawsuit after another to stop states from even investigating the extent of the problem.
Worse, LULAC is now suing groups that even try to publish data on non-citizens voting. The group has filed a lawsuit in Virginia against J. Christian Adams and his Public Interest Legal Foundation for simply publishing the data of those non-citizens who were taken off Virginia’s voter rolls.
What is so ludicrous about this case is that the Constitution accords federal judges no power over election law whatsoever. Only Congress can get involved under extraordinary circumstances. Unless an individual citizen is being barred from actually voting, there should be no standing to sue a state’s plenary power of verifying voter registration. If a voter is purged and can’t get back on the rolls and is a citizen, let him sue in court. But judges shouldn’t have control over a general process of notification. Sen. Jacob Howard, one of the prime drafters of the 14th Amendment, made it clear during the floor debate in 1866 over the 14th Amendment: “The second section leaves the right to regulate the elective franchise still with the States, and does not meddle with that right.”
Yet judges all over the country have now assumed control over all aspects of election law, asserting that any effort to combat voter fraud, including photo ID requirements and anti-fraud measures on absentee ballots, are tantamount to stripping voting rights. It took years for Texas to get its photo ID law enacted because of liberal district judges. The state only won in the end because it is under the auspices of the saner Fifth Circuit. States like North Carolina were not as lucky. Now, Judge Biery, a Clinton appointee, is invoking this very clause of the 14th Amendment to block his state from even contacting immigrants registered to vote to make sure they became naturalized as citizens.
Voting, while close to being a fundamental right, is still a product of positive law. States have full control to regulate the process. As Howard said, “The right of suffrage is not, in law, one of the privileges or immunities thus secured by the Constitution. It is merely the creature of law. It has always been regarded in this country as the result of positive local law, not regarded as one of those fundamental rights lying at the basis of all society and without which a people cannot exist except as slaves, subject to a despotism.”
Yet when it comes to unambiguous rights like self-defense, these same liberal judges burden it to the point of non-existence.
Taking a shot at the secretary of state, Judge Biery smugly concluded, “The Court further finds and concludes the Secretary of State, though perhaps unintentionally, created this mess. As Robert Fulghum taught in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, ‘always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes.’” Perhaps the learned judge should learn another preschool lesson: Namely, don’t grab for yourself something that you don’t have permission to touch.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.