Since the founding of our Country, there’s been a process for everything. In March 1976, Schoolhouse Rock taught us about the process for a bill and how laws are made. Routinely, people are destroyed on “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader,” with questions about the legislative process. The United States Constitution as well as many of the States’ Constitutions and Charters, all contain instructions of the process. That process includes the passage of bills out of both houses of the legislature (in the 49 bicameral states, I’m looking at you Nebraska), those bills to be signed by the Executive, and the Courts decide whether or not those laws follow and are in line with the Constitution, should they be challenged.
In some states, the legislature holds a “veto-proof” control of the legislature, wherein a legislature can overturn a veto of an executive. Those states often have control of both houses of the legislature and the Governor’s office and an override is rarely necessary.
Legislating from an Executive office is never to happen. As a result of a lot of executive action on COVID-19 restrictions, numerous legal challenges have been launched to place boundaries on the out-of-control use of power. For instance, some executives have placed restrictions on the free exercise of religion in some states and municipalities under the guise of protecting citizens from exposure to the virus. Numerous courts across the country have found these orders to be unconstitutional, not only because they deny people of their Constitutional rights, but because those states didn’t follow the Constitutional process to institute the orders.
In the 2020 election, there were numerous orders from State and County officials that were alleged attempts to allow for people to vote by mail, to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Those attempts included universal vote-by-mail orders within certain states, and changes to the ballot return rules, which extended the time which voters had to return their ballots. In Pennsylvania for instance, a law, passed by the Commonwealth, was struck down by the courts. Instead of sending them back to the drawing board to alter the law to meet the bounds set by the activist judges of the courts, the courts themselves changed the law, contrary to the Constitutional process. Attorneys General and Secretaries of State across the country, refused to enforce certain laws, even under orders from the Supreme Court of the United States.
These actions created a discrepancy between States that followed the rules and law to conduct their elections and those states that changed the rules and the laws outside of the Constitutional process to create for themselves an unfair advantage. Exclusively, the states and counties that changed the rules outside of the Constitution, were blue. In Arizona, blue counties extended deadlines and changed counting rules to favor those blue voters. In Georgia, counties changed counting rules, conducting the count absent the watchers who are allowed by law, to oversee the process. In Wisconsin, Dane County elections officials presided over the largest return of mail ballots in the State’s history, largely because of rules changes instituted by county elections officials. Most egregiously, Pennsylvania Elections officials and the Attorney General ignored orders from two courts, including the United States Supreme Court to count ballots from unconstitutional changes to the elections process instituted by executive order and judicial advocacy.
When Texas’ Ken Paxton filed his suit with the United States Supreme Court, he did so with all of these above issues in mind. He saw how legitimately unfair it was that Texas and other states could conduct elections with rules instituted by their various legislatures, within the bounds of Constitutional guidelines, yet other states could simply change their rules to be able to send out ballots, collect them, and count them, from voters who likely either would have never been engaged or worse, were cast through illegitimate means.It is a dangerous precedent; One that could mean the end of the Constitution as we know it and the end to the federal system detailed in the Constitution