Last week, I told you about the contested election of 1876, which was only resolved with the creation of a 15-member Electoral Commission. The Electoral Count Act was passed in 1887 to prevent another election debacle like 1876. Today, Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, is hoping to use the Electoral Count Act this January 6th to get Donald Trump declared the winner of the 2020 election. Brooks said he wants to get the Electoral College votes of five states - Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, and Wisconsin - thrown out for voting irregularities.
To go down this path, Brooks has to find a senator willing to co-sign the challenge. Rand Paul indicated he might do so. Ron Johnson is also receptive, but wants to see what transpires at his hearing this week on election irregularities before committing to Brooks. If Brooks can get a senator to sign on, each house of Congress would go to its own chamber for a two-hour debate and then a vote on whether to disqualify the electoral votes of one or more states. Both houses would have to agree. If one house wants to throw out votes and the other does not, the votes remain valid and the process goes from there. But if votes are tossed, one possible outcome is that neither candidate achieves a majority of electors, throwing the election into the House of Representatives where a majority of state delegations picks the winner under the 12th Amendment. However, that’s not the only possible outcome. The Electoral Count Act has so many confusing, ambiguous, and contradictory provisions it makes your head spin. For example, it’s ambiguous, in the case of multiple slates of electors from one state, as to whether the slate certified by the Governor should be counted or no slate is counted at all.
That’s not even the worst of it. The process under the Electoral Count Act is supposed to be completed by the time the term of the outgoing president ends. Under the 20th Amendment, that’s set hard and fast at noon on January 20th. The process might not be concluded by then because the two houses of Congress might disagree whether the electoral count has been completed, or disagree that a new president has been selected. There could be two people claiming to be president at noon on January 20th. If the process is not concluded by that time, then the Speaker of the House - Nancy Pelosi in this case - is sworn in as acting president under the 20th Amendment and the Presidential Succession Act.
They say Congress is where the sausage is made. Not pretty, is it?
The U.S. House of Representatives has been involved in deciding three presidential elections in our history - in 1800, 1824, and 1876.
The election of 1800 has been called ‘recognizably modern’. John Adams and his Federalist Party favored a strong central government, while Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican Party wanted lower taxes and more federalism. Mr. Jefferson’s party also denounced John Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts which made it harder for immigrants to become citizens and punished people who criticized the national government. Under the rules before the 12th Amendment, Jefferson and Aaron Burr who was in the same party tied in the Electoral College, each receiving 73 votes. Adams was third with 65. The tie threw the election into the House of Representatives where nobody came out on top in 35 ballots. Jefferson prevailed on the 36th ballot after getting the support of Alexander Hamilton.
In 1824, Andrew Jackson won a plurality of both the electoral vote and the popular vote. But because no candidate got a majority of the electoral vote, the election went to the House under the terms of the 12th Amendment which had been ratified in 1804. Henry Clay had come in fourth in the Electoral College and was eliminated. He threw his support to John Quincy Adams who won the election in the House on the first ballot after getting 13 state votes out of the 24 states America had at the time. This was a big shock to Andrew Jackson who had done the best in both the Electoral College and the popular vote. Jackson had the last laugh, however. There were accusations Henry Clay gave his support to John Quincy Adams in exchange for being named Secretary of State. Clay did in fact become Secretary of State under Adams. Jackson campaigned on it for four years, helping him defeat Adams in the 1828 rematch.
There was high drama again in the 1876 election when Democrat Samuel Tilden won a majority of the popular vote, but came up short in the Electoral College, 19 votes ahead of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. There ensued a long, drawn-out and controversial post-election process. Twenty electoral votes from four states were contested. There were allegations of election fraud on the part of Democrats and threats of violence against Republican voters in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Republicans dominated the electoral commissions in those states and awarded their electoral votes to Hayes. In Oregon, the results favored the Republicans, but the state’s Democratic Governor claimed that one of the Republican electors was ineligible, having held office as postmaster. The two Republican electors presented three votes for Hayes, signed by Oregon’s secretary of state. The newly installed Democrat elector reported one vote for Tilden and two for Hayes, signed by the Governor and attested by the secretary of state. Oregon’s votes were eventually awarded to Hayes and the Democrats claimed fraud.
The dispute moved to Congress with Republicans saying the President of the Senate should count the votes and the Democrats arguing no disputed vote should be counted without the concurrence of both houses. The Democrats wanted to block the vote of one state in the House where they held a majority. This would have swung the election to Tilden. This was an unprecedented constitutional crisis which was resolved when Congress passed a law creating a 15-member Electoral Commission to settle procedural disputes and decide what to do with double sets of electoral college votes from states. In closed-door meetings, a grand bargain was struck: Hayes would get the 20 disputed electoral votes he needed to make him President, in exchange for the Republicans ending Reconstruction and withdrawing federal troops from the South. So it was the constitutional crisis of 1876 was resolved, but the resolution came at the price of disenfranchising black voters throughout the South for nearly a hundred years.
Radio host Mark Levin has brought to the public’s attention that, under Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, state legislatures have total power to choose the presidential electors they want. In the current circumstances in which we find ourselves, state legislatures - including those in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and other contested states - can pick pro-Trump electors for the Electoral College for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. A stalwart Tea Partier friend of mine wrote a model letter that anyone can deliver to their state legislators reminding them they have this power and urging them to use it. I’d like to read the letter to you now, it’s short:
This is a simple message—Article II, section 1 of the United States' Constitution gives your state's legislature the sole power to choose its Electoral College delegation. Article II says that each state shall appoint said delegation “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.”
You are charged with selecting your state's electors for president of the United States. The U.S. Constitution specifically gives that power to you, and no one else.
This means state legislators have complete power over how presidential elections are to be held in their states, too. If you feel that your legislature's constitutional prerogative to set election rules in your own state has been violated, you have the ability to rectify it. If Democrats made anti-democratic changes to your state's electoral process, seeking corrupt advantage, you can correct that. You need not bend to outside forces, civilian or governmental. Your branch of state government regulates your state's elections, and no one else.
State legislatures may choose electors for Donald Trump because in their judgment President Trump is the legitimate winner in their state, or they may do so because they feel President Trump is the better choice. Both are constitutional, both are valid reasons.
Therefore, Republican-controlled legislatures in AZ, NC, MI, GA, WI, and PA can decide that, in their best judgment, President Trump is the legitimate winner of their states' fraud-filled elections.
Or, as has been done many times before in our history, state legislators have the power to simply overrule the voters if they believe the voters have chosen in error. The framers of the Constitution trusted you with that decision. You have that power.
That’s the end of the letter. It should be in the wrap-up in its entirety, along with supporting documentation.
1. Mark Levin, Nov. 6, 2020
“This is really the only place in the constitution where the framers of the constitution and the ratifiers go into the federal constitution and say not the state courts, not the federal courts, not the governor, not the bureaucracy, not congress, but the states are going to make the election laws on determining how to choose the electors for president of the United States.”
2. Horowitz: How Republican-controlled state legislatures can rectify election fraud committed by courts and governors
3. Majority Opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, Bush v. Gore, 2000
“The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the electoral college. U.S. Const., Art. II, § 1. This is the source for the statement in McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 35 (1892), that the state legislature's power to select the manner for appointing electors is plenary; it may, if it so chooses, select the electors itself, which indeed was the manner used by state legislatures in several States for many years after the framing of our Constitution. Id., at 28-33. History has now favored the voter, and in each of the several States the citizens themselves vote for Presidential electors. When the state legislature vests the right to vote for President in its people, the right to vote as the legislature has prescribed is fundamental; and one source of its fundamental nature lies in the equal weight accorded to each vote and the equal dignity owed to each voter. The State, of course, after granting the franchise in the special context of Article II, can take back the power to appoint electors. See id., at 35 ("'[T]here is no doubt of the right of the legislature to resume the power at any time, for it can neither be taken away nor abdicated'") (quoting S. Rep. No. 395, 43d Cong., 1st Sess.).”
Strange as it may sound, there is no right to vote in federal elections expressly stated in the text of the original Constitution. The reason appears to be that the Founders were nervous about democracy descending into mob rule and the majority voting to take away the rights of the minority. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James Madison expressed the view that “the freeholders of the country would be the safest depositories of republican liberty.” In other words, Madison believed that people who owned land free and clear would be better guarantors of minority rights than other people would be, better able to stop the tyranny of the majority.
Madison’s view was on the wrong side of history. Voting rights steadily broadened in the country and several constitutional amendments just assume the right to vote exists, for example the 19th Amendment broadening the vote to women and the 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18.
The U.S. Supreme Court has long deemed the right to vote to be a fundamental right. In 1886, the Court said the right to vote is fundamental because voting preserves all other rights. [Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 1886]. In cases in the 1960s, the Court wrote that the right to vote is essential in a democratic society and restrictions on it strike at the heart of representative government. [e.g., Reynolds v. Sims, 1964] Because the right to vote is considered fundamental in Supreme Court jurisprudence, restrictions on voting must meet strict scrutiny, the highest judicial standard applied to rights. The government must have a compelling interest and the restriction must be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest.
There is concern, coming from the Left, that the right to vote - not expressly stated in the Constitution and reliant on the Supreme Court’s good will - is on shaky ground. They cite laws passed by the Republicans in North Carolina cutting back on early voting, curbing voter-registration drives by private groups, eliminating same-day registration, and imposing voter ID rules. Restrictions of this magnitude would be intolerable if imposed, say, on free speech or freedom of religion, they argue, but the Supreme Court opened the door for them when it stopped federal supervision of elections in southern states in 2013. [Shelby County v. Holder]
There is even an organized effort called FairVote to get a constitutional amendment explicitly guaranteeing an individual right to vote. If you take a look at FairVote’s board, you will find lots of connections to left-wing groups and causes, even a tie to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
So you know they’re up to no good, but here are some what-if’s to ponder: What if the Democrats succeed, one day, in taking the House, the Senate, and the White House, then proceed to pack the Supreme Court? What if the permanent leftist majority on the expanded Supreme Court decides the right to vote isn’t deserving of strict scrutiny after all? What if the new majority starts upholding laws in blue state restricting the rights of Tea Partiers and others on the political Right to hold voter registration drives and knock on doors for candidates?
What the Supreme Court giveth, the Supreme Court can take away. I’d be tempted to say a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote would be in order, but I already know it would become the source of boundless mischief by the Left.
In 2011, I wrote a report on Structural Racism describing how the theory had Marxist roots and was making significant inroads in civil rights legal circles and popular thought. I warned unless somebody with influence started standing up to the systemic racism crowd, the theory would become a 20-year overnight success. I was right about absolutely everything, except it only took nine years. It’s 2020 and now we see professional athletes and National Guard troops taking a knee. We also see the trained Marxists of Black Lives Matter raking in hundreds of millions of dollars to fight the chimera of systemic racism. The effects will be ruinous if systemic racism theory continues to go unchallenged by the political Right. No less than your rights to free speech and to practice your religion hang in the balance. Make no mistake: the Left is using the Constitution to destroy the Constitution.
Systemic racism theory derives from Critical Race Theory which holds that racism is ingrained in the fabric of American society and that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture. These power structures are based on white privilege and white supremacy, which perpetuate the marginalization of people of color. Any disparity of outcome between groups - in health, income, education, etc. - is due to racism, not to personal choices or any other factor. Systemic racism theory is all about erasing disparities between groups through authoritarian, collectivist means, starting with society-levelling tax rates of 60 to 80 percent.
Critical race theory is an outgrowth of critical legal studies which has Marxist roots. Critical race theory ultimately derives from critical theory which came from the Frankfurt School, a group of theorists pushing the cultural Marxism of Antonio Gramsci. ‘Critical’ in this context doesn’t mean analytical thinking. It means criticizing everything and tearing everything down until there’s nothing left. This is what cultural Marxists seek to do, to destroy every vestige of society that currently exists in order to soften you up to accept their authoritarian, collectivist program - run by them. The ultimate source of all this is Karl Marx, the original destroyer who said, “constructing the future and settling everything for all times are not our affair... it is all the more clear what we have to accomplish at present: I am referring to ruthless criticism of all that exists...”
Recently, we saw another turn in the evolution of critical race thinking. You are a racist unless you are an in-your-face social justice warrior constantly engaged in fighting racism. This turn of thought is obviously crazy. Three other recent developments show the country is becoming lop-sided in promoting diversity to the exclusion of all other values and is headed in the wrong direction:
California requires counties to meet racial quotas (“health equity metrics”) before they can get out from under the state’s COVID lockdown orders. Washington state barred religious grandparents from fostering their one-year old granddaughter because the child might, maybe, someday, hypothetically speaking, grow up to be gay or transgender in an unfriendly household. Third, the insane practice of meting out school discipline by racial quotas continues in some places.
Unless a serious counter-operation is mounted from the Right, we will see a steady stream of stories like this until freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other constitutional values we hold dear are completely devoured in the name of diversity.
But it’s not too late. None of this is unassailable super-precedent or set in stone. There have been major reversals in equal protection theory before - Plessy came along announcing the formula ‘separate but equal’ which is now in the dustbin of history. President Trump has done his part - prohibiting the teaching of Critical Race Theory at federal agencies and federal contractors. What is needed from us activists is a war room - a sophisticated counter-operation that deconstructs the outlandish novelties coming from the other side and continuously pushes out counter-messages far and wide to key influencers and the general public, to loosen the grip systemic racism theory now has on the popular imagination. If you have ideas on how to bring such a war room about, please get in touch with me [tips at liberato.us].
Not a day goes by without some article appearing to the effect that Trump is a dictator or a threat to democracy and the Constitution. Actually, Trump has defended the Constitution in at least four important ways.
First, he defended the Presidency against baseless impeachment charges. There was no Trump/Russia collusion, so the Democrats pivoted to the Ukraine phone call and obstruction of Congress. There was nothing of substance there, either, and the President’s defense team rightfully prevailed in the Senate trial. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats showed themselves to be the threat to the Constitution, not Trump, by lowering the standard for initiating impeachment to virtually nothing at all.
Second, Trump showed the national security and foreign service bureaucracy that it is the President, and not they, who controls national policy in foreign affairs and war. Who could forget the underlings during the impeachment process criticizing the President’s foreign policy and saying they know better than he does. Those bureaucrats are the threat to the Constitution, not Trump.
Third, Trump has appointed scores of originalist judges to the federal bench. He fought for Justice Kavanaugh and now he’s fighting for Amy Coney Barrett to be confirmed to the Supreme Court. The Democrats who have obstructed the constitutional process for confirming judges are the threat to the Constitution, not Trump.
Finally, Trump has firmly rejected globalism and reasserted American sovereignty at every turn. He pledged to put “America First” in his inaugural address. In a speech to the UN last year, Trump called on member states to embrace nationalism and reject globalism. He said, “The free world must embrace its national foundations. It must not attempt to erase them or replace them. The future does not belong to globalists, the future belongs to patriots.” That’s right. The U.S. Constitution, which the President swore an oath to uphold, is all about We the American People forming a more perfect Union, not the Left’s wackadoodle dream of We the Global Citizens chasing after a perfect world and heaven on earth. The globalists are the threat to the Constitution, not Trump.
President Trump won’t be going on an ‘apology tour’ - or bowing down to foreign leaders like his predecessor did - any time soon, and we Americans are better off for his fidelity to the Constitution.
The subject of religious tests for office came up several times this past week in connection with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court.
You may recall that Illinois Senator Dick Durbin asked Barrett, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?,” during her confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. Senator Dianne Feinstein notoriously said to Barrett at that time, “so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling ... [because] ... the dogma lives loudly within you.”
Article VI of the U.S. Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office. It reads:
England had a religious test that excluded Catholics from office from 1673 to 1829. The religious test was a reflection of the fact that the Church of England was the official state religion there. England’s religious test for office was intended to protect the national church and the state “against perils from non-conformists of all denominations, infidels, turks, jews, heretics, papists, and sectaries.”
Nine American colonies had religious tests, but the only objection voiced at the Constitutional Convention to banning them was they weren’t needed because of the supposed “prevailing liberality” regarding religion. During ratification, however, some argued in favor of religious tests as a safeguard against corruption in office, or to align with what most states were doing at the time, or out of prejudice against ‘heathens and Jews’.
The Supreme Court applied the ban on religious tests in Article VI to the states in a 1961 case [Torcaso v. Watkins]. In that case, Maryland had refused to allow a man to be a notary public because he would not declare his belief in God. The Supreme Court wrote:
I could not find any cases directly concerning religious tests for office after 1961. So it’ is all pretty much cut and dried and settled law. If Durbin and Feinstein try this line of attack again this time around, Barrett’s supporters should not hesitate to say anti-religious bigotry lives loudly within them.
President Trump’s pick to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, has been praised for her fidelity to the Constitution and respect for the rule of law.
She has criticized strict adherence to the legal doctrine of stare decisis and indicated she would rather follow the Constitution instead of Court-made doctrine. She does not view prior Court precedents as always binding. She has argued the doctrine should only be a “weak presumption” and judges should have more flexibility in constitutional cases. She has endorsed the view that “a justice’s duty is to the Constitution” and it is legitimate for judges to decide according to their best understanding of the Constitution rather than blindly follow precedent. She rejects the notion that any court “can declare a permanent victor in a divisive constitutional struggle.” This has the Left going nuts because it suggests she might vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if confirmed.
She favors textualism which holds that courts cannot go against the plain language of a statute to effectuate legislative intent or fix a poorly written law. She wrote in 2017, “it is illegitimate for the Court to distort either the Constitution or a statute to achieve what it deems a preferable result.” This has the Left going nuts because she has specifically called out Chief Justice John Roberts for reaching out and saving the Obamacare statute with his cockamamie ‘it isn’t a tax, it is a tax’ gyrations.
You won’t hear her talking about a ‘living, breathing Constitution’ any time soon. She appears to be an originalist, of the variety that gives the words in the Constitution their original public meaning. Also, she has argued judges have a limited role to play in our system of government and should stay in their lane. In 2016, she wrote that, “People should not look to the Supreme Court as a super Legislature. They should look at the Court as an institution that interprets our laws and protects the rule of law, but doesn’t try to impose policy preferences – that’s the job of Congress and the president.”
Her critics fear she will follow the dictates of her Catholic faith instead of the law on issues like abortion. However, regarding the death penalty, she wrote: “Judges cannot—nor should they try to—align our legal system with the Church’s moral teaching whenever the two diverge.” They should, however, recuse themselves from a case if their personal convictions keep them from doing their job. “I would never impose my own personal convictions upon the law,” she testified.
As for her judicial record, she has joined opinions allowing the death penalty to go forward in a couple of cases. She dissented in a Second Amendment case where the majority upheld a lifetime ban on firearm possession by a nonviolent felon, arguing the result was unconstitutional because there was no evidence the felon was a hi-risk individual. In an abortion case, she joined a dissent which argued Supreme Court precedents do not apply in the case of sex selection abortions. The dissent she joined emphasized not taking precedents beyond the facts at hand. That opinion argued, “We ought not impute to the Justices decisions they have not made about problems they have not faced.” She wrote the opinion in a case invalidating the university suspension of a male student who was found guilty of sexual violence. The school did not afford enough Due Process to the student, starting with the fact it refused to disclose the evidence upon which it based its decision. That was enough, in Barrett’s view, to render the process fundamentally unfair.
Maybe I’ve lived too long, but Jeff Sessions said a lot of nice things about the rule of law in his confirmation process and was a disaster as Attorney General. More recently, Justice Gorsuch - praised by conservatives and appointed to the high Court by President Trump - expanded transgender rights in an opinion every bit as cockamamie as Roberts’ Obamacare opinion. Much has been written about Justice Harry Blackmun, a Nixon appointee, disappointing conservatives. I’ve mentioned before that the Supreme Court has become too powerful in ways the Founders never intended. While having Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court would be far preferable than, say, a Hillary Clinton, let’s just hope that Barrett doesn’t succumb to Potomac Fever when she gets to Washington from Indiana.
President Trump tweeted he would proceed to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg’s death without delay. Mitch McConnell said the nominee will receive a floor vote.
Former President Obama suggested the Senate should delay replacing Ginsburg until after the election. However, he himself nominated Merrick Garland in an election year, 2016, and argued the spot should be filled immediately.
Joe Biden has demanded Ginsburg not be replaced until after the election. But he wrote in 2016 President Obama had a “constitutional duty” and should move quickly in that election year to fill the vacancy caused by Justice Scalia’s death.
Chuck Schumer said the vacancy should not be filled until there is a new president. But he argued in 2016 that the Senate should act on Garland’s nomination, tweeting that 17 Supreme Court justices have been confirmed in presidential election years and telling the Senate to #DoYourJob.
The late Justice Ginsburg left us so-called ‘instructions’ that her most fervent wish was that she not be replaced until a new president is installed. Sorry, but there is no ‘dead Justice’ rule requiring anyone to follow her wishes. The only rule is power: the Republican Senate denied Obama a vote on Garland in 2016 because it could, and is proceeding now because it can, and nothing in the Constitution or law prevents it.
As for there only being some 40 days left before the election, Justice Stevens was confirmed in just 16 days after being nominated in 1975. Justice O’Connor’s confirmation only took 33 days and Justice Ginsburg herself was confirmed in just 42 days. They didn’t have Judiciary Committee hearings on Supreme Court nominees until 1916 , so maybe we should just skip the circus altogether and go right to a vote.
All the flip-flops and political expediency aside, here’s what decides the case for me: The Democrats and their allies have spent the last four-plus years trying to run President Trump out of office. They spied on his 2016 presidential campaign and have yet to be brought to justice. They declared they would not accept the results of the 2016 election and resolved to become ‘ungovernable’ - their word, not mine. They rioted, smashed windows, and torched limousines at his 2017 inauguration. They consumed the next two years lying to us about Trump-Russia collusion. They gave up on that, but then lied about the Ukraine phone call and brought what has to be the lamest impeachment case, ever, against a sitting President, in all of American history. They failed miserably. Now they’re back out on the streets rioting for months on end trying to burn down federal buildings and blind police officers with lasers. The rioting stopped being about George Floyd a long time ago. They’ve already threatened to burn everything down and shut down the country if the Supreme Court nomination proceeds now. Hillary Clinton and others have told Biden not to accept the results of the current election, no matter what, and the Biden campaign has lined up 600 lawyers to contest election results in every corner of the land. And who can forget or forgive what happened to Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing - all those bogus last-minute accusations and the pictures of wild-eyed ignoramuses pounding on the doors of the Supreme Court.
After all this, Donald Trump is supposed to stay his hand? Why should the Left’s refusal to accept a peaceful transition of power in the last election and their atrocious behavior ever since be rewarded with a delay now? If the shoe were on the other foot, you know darn well the Democrats would proceed. Elections have consequences. Refusing to accept election results should have consequences, too.
A Virginia landlord has filed suit against the CDC’s eviction moratorium, alleging a whole host of constitutional violations. But the nub of the case is the landlord’s assertion that the moratorium is “an affront to core constitutional limits on federal power.” Tea Partiers have long been concerned with the aggrandizement of federal power, so we have to ask ourselves whether we are still concerned now that Trump, not Obama, is in office.
The landlord starts off his complaint with the observation that he expected, when he leased the property, that the tenant would pay rent and the landlord could go to court to seek an eviction if the tenant did not. The landlord continues to pay maintenance, utilities, and other expenses on the property. The CDC’s moratorium is unprecedented, not authorized by any statute, and suspends state law in the name of controlling the pandemic.
There are six constitutional violations alleged in the complaint. First, the moratorium violates the landlord’s right to access the courts to seek lawful eviction. The right to access the courts is found in the intersection of the Privileges and Immunities Clause, Due Process, Equal Protection, and the First Amendment Petition Clause. Second, the Due Process Clause of the 5th and 14th Amendments and these other constitutional provisions, not agency declarations, are the supreme law of the land under the Article VI Supremacy Clause. Third, the CDC’s regulation cannot preempt state contract law under the 10th Amendment because the relevant statute generally does not allow CDC regulations to supersede provisions of state law. Fourth, the moratorium offends the Supreme Court’s anti-commandeering doctrine under the 10th Amendment because stopping evictions requires the participation of state courts and state officers to administer a federal program. Fifth, upholding the moratorium would mean that Congress has delegated power to an agency without giving the agency any guiding principles to limit the exercise of that power. In other words, Congress would be asking the CDC to do Congress’ job and legislate, when agencies are only supposed to regulate within boundaries Congress sets. Finally, the CDC is attempting to suspend state laws that govern the eviction process. This attempt by the executive branch to suspend laws enacted by the legislative branch, without the legislative branch having delegated that power to the executive branch, violates separation of powers, or so it is alleged.
The landlord has filed for a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the moratorium, and that’s as far as the case has gotten as of this writing.
Politically, the case looks like a neatly laid trap. Rule in favor of the CDC and you hand Trump a political victory. Rule against the CDC, you make every renter in America mad at you and hand Trump a political victory. Trump wins either way.
A moratorium might sound great for tenants, but what about landlords? What about their property rights under the U.S. Constitution? It’s tempting to say the government should forbid evictions so tenants aren’t harmed, and even go on to say government should pay landlords so they are made whole. But can government at any level really afford to subsidize landlords indefinitely? Obviously not, so the only real solution to this problem is to end the lockdowns and get people back to work as quickly as possible. Government created a situation where lots of people can’t pay their rent, setting off a whole cascade of consequences throughout the economy, starting with landlords who, as a result, can’t meet their own obligations. With the number of COVID hospitalizations dwindling, it’s time for government to get out of the way and let life get back to normal.
The Web Team
Our web team is dedicated to bringing you Constitutional news you can use.