(UnitedVoice.com) – Every so often, a situation arises that tests the nation’s measure and the limits of our Constitution. Some claim that the future of our Republic Democracy is at stake. By Thursday, December 10, 20 states in total joined together in a lawsuit against 4 other states to challenge how governors and administrators unilaterally changed laws without their state legislatures in the 2020 presidential election. The outcome, the petitioners claim, is that rampant voter fraud ensued as a result and harmed all states.
The founding fathers created a unique system of government that had never been tried before. It’s called federalism. In 1776, the colonists fought to break free from the top-down government that centralized power in the Monarch. In 1789, the United States was the only large republic in the world. It was uniquely made of 14 sovereign powers – 13 states and the federal government, all under the US Constitution with provisions that a limited federal government would not interfere with the states’ rights under the 10th Amendment.
The Power of Federalism
The core principle behind federalism is that the Constitution unites the states while preserving their individual integrity to govern themselves. Anything not explicitly stated in the Constitution is the responsibility of the states. The system was created for three reasons:
- To keep a centralized government from becoming heavy-handed and excessively powerful.
- To empower more involvement by citizens in their government(s).
- To enable the states to try new ideas and innovate government.
Dispersed and balanced power among varying levels of government is at the heart of federalism. Legislatures, executive branches, judiciary, and voters all share in deciding the country’s direction and an individual state.
New York and Wyoming shouldn’t look the same because they are not the same politically or culturally. They don’t share the same histories, lifestyles, or political theories of how to govern. That’s why federalism is a beautiful concept.
Did the 2020 Presidential Election Push the Limits Too Far?
Throughout the history of the US, states have been at odds with one another and with the federal government. The Supreme Court’s role, at times, is to mediate and resolve those disputes. On December 8, Texas and nineteen states asked the Supreme Court to order Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia to appoint new electors to vote for President Trump in the Electoral College.
While the Supreme Court dismissed the case on Friday, December 11, it does bring up the issue of the Constitutional limits of federalism. Twenty states argued that the four states in question violated the Constitution and therefore violated voters’ rights in states whose governors didn’t unilaterally change the rules.
However, this is where the issue of federalism comes into play. The pivotal question is: Does one sovereign state have the power to dictate to another sovereign state? Whether it’s appropriate or not, the Republican-led “legislatures” in the four battleground states are not suing their executive branches and appear ready to move on from the election.
As twenty states decided to fight for the future of the country, the Supreme Court decision affected more than just the fate of President Trump, but also of federalism and state sovereignty. The justices’ choice not to take this case will long outlast who is President of the United States.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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